The new Church Year falls on Sunday, December 1. This is great news! In preparation, we’ve compiled a refresher list about the five seasons of the Church Year below.
Advent and Christmas
Advent is a time for preparation—specifically, preparation for the coming of our Lord and Savior. There are four Sundays in Advent before Christmas. Four candles are lit during this time on the Advent wreath: three purple and one pink. The three purple candles individually represent hope, faith, and peace. The pink candle represents joy. Often, a fifth white candle is lit on Christmas Day to represent Christ. The color blue or violet indicates the time of Advent, and white indicates the time of Christmas.
Epiphany, or the season of lights, occurs just after the secular new year, on January 6. It is the second-oldest season in the Christian Church, just behind Easter. Epiphany begins with the Wise Men visiting Jesus and presenting their gifts to Him. The following Sundays of the season highlight Jesus’ manifestation as both God and man. The color for the feast day of the Epiphany of Our Lord is white, while the color for the season of Epiphany is green.
Lent and Holy Week
Lent is a forty-day period of inward reflection and repentance of our sins. Lent begins with Ash Wednesday and the placement of ashes on parishioners’ foreheads. Many Christians will also give up something in remembrance of Jesus’ forty days of fasting in the wilderness. During Holy Week, we celebrate Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday, which are all important days leading up to our Savior’s crucifixion and resurrection. The color for the Lenten season is purple, while the color for Holy Week is scarlet. Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday all use the color black.
Easter is a fifty-day period that celebrates the Lord’s victory over sin through His death and resurrection. It begins with the Easter Vigil and continues until the Day of Pentecost. During this season, we give thanks to our Lord for His ultimate sacrifice on Calvary’s cross. The color of the Easter season is white to represent holiness, glory, joy, and purity.
The Day of Pentecost celebrates the disciples receiving the Holy Spirit in flames upon their heads and preaching the Word in every tongue to those who had gathered in their city (Acts 2). The season of Pentecost is the non-festival half of the Church Year and is a time to reflect on the greater Church and its ministry. Just as the disciples received the Holy Spirit, we, too, can reflect on how the Holy Spirit guides us in our everyday lives. The color for the Day of Pentecost is red, while the color for the season of Pentecost is green.
New Beginnings for All
The new Church Year is a time of reflection and new beginnings for all congregations. It’s also the start of new things here at CPH. For years, we have been bringing you blog posts following the lectionary on Lutheran Service Builder to ground you in a devotional on each important day of the Church Year. Although this will conclude at the end of 2019, we are excited to announce that all of the posts will be available on one convenient web page for you to browse.
Prepare for the new Church Year by understanding Advent and every season to come. Take time this year to reflect and understand each season so you can deepen your understanding of the beautiful traditions of the Church.
To see the entirety of our Church Year blog posts, visit the web page below.