LIVING THE CHRISTIAN YEAR
What is The Church Calendar? Not be confused with Church of the Resurrection’s calendar of events, The Church Calendar is a global, historic way of ordering time according the the life and ministry of Jesus Christ.
The Kingdom of God re-orders everything, even (perhaps especially) the way we view time. Rather than being first ordered by a calendar, the Christian year is ordered by a Story, God’s story in Jesus Christ. The Christian Year follows an annual cycle as we actually live into Jesus’ story of hope and redemption.
Click here to view a great video our friends at Christ Church Overland Park KS developed on the Christian Year.
Observing Advent— a season of preparation and joyful expectation for the coming of Christ. Advent is a four week journey pointing us to the reality that Jesus came and is coming back again.
Observing Christmastide— celebrating Jesus’ Incarnation during the 12 Days of Christmas.
Observing Epiphany/Ordinary Time— a season that signals us to the appearing of Jesus as the Savior of the world, and to remind us of our continued mission to make him known among all the nations.
Observing Lent— Beginning with Ash Wednesday and climaxing in Holy Week, Lent is a 40 day season that beckons us to draw near to God through repentance.
Observing Easter— the center of our Story… where we celebrate the triumph of Jesus over sin and death. This is a season of feasting, joy, and new beginnings that lasts 50 days.
Observing Pentecost Sunday— celebrating the sending of the Holy Spirit and the birth of the Church. Pentecost is the fiftieth and last day of the Easter season.
Observing Ordinary Time— Beginning with Trinity Sunday, this is the longest season of the church year and it invites us to be attentive to the call of discipleship.
REASONS FOR LIVING THE CHRISTIAN YEAR
It enables us to live in God’s Story. Church Year spirituality forms Christian people around the story of redemption in Christ. It does not focus on “principles” or “steps” or “programs” for spiritual growth. It is thoroughly Jesus-shaped and uses the biblical story to conform our lives to his. As Israel was shaped by their story of slavery, redemption, covenant, and Promised Land, so the New Israel is formed by the story of Messiah.
It keeps the main thing the main thing. Church Year spirituality is Christ-centered. It is shaped around the events of his incarnation, ministry, death, burial, resurrection, ascension, and the outpouring of his Spirit. At every turn we see Jesus, we hear Jesus, we follow Jesus.
It recognizes that one’s calendar forms one’s life. Church Year Spirituality is down-to-earth, utterly realistic about the day to day, season to season patterns of life that shape our behavior. All our lives we have developed habits by the way we mark and use our time. A spirituality formed around the Church Year is designed to form our habits around following Jesus. We take the place of disciples, and walk through the same experiences they had as they lived with Jesus day in and day out, season after season, over the course of three years.
It links personal spirituality with worship, family, and community. Church Year Spirituality recognizes both the individual journey and the corporate pilgrimage. What happens on Sundays is of a piece with what happens during the week as our corporate worship and our daily lives as individuals and families are shaped around the story of Jesus.
It provides a basis of unity and common experience for Christians everywhere. Our unity with other Christians is in the Gospel story. This is summarized in the Apostles’ Creed and the other creeds of the church. Propositional doctrinal statements have their place as ways to express more detailed understandings of the meaning and significance of God’s saving acts, but our unity with other believers is in Christ. We celebrate this throughout the year when churches of various traditions and denominations celebrate the Church Year and conform their worship and congregational lives to it.
THE LITURGICAL COLORS
The colors of the hangings on an Anglican church’s altar table and of the stoles and Communion vestments worn by the clergy are appropriate to the season of the church year.
Each color is symbolic:
White, for purity and joy, is used during the great festivals of Christmas and Easter.
Red, signifying blood and fire, is used on Pentecost and martyrs’ days.
Purple or violet, symbolizing penitence and mourning, is the color of Advent and Lent.
Green is for life, hope, and peace; it is used for seasons of Epiphany and Pentecost.
Black represents great sorrow and is used on Good Friday.