The Church Year
Our church year is a circle or cycle anchored by three great mysteries. These are Easter, Christmas, and Pentecost. Easter is kept in the spring and celebrates the resurrection of Jesus and the new life that God offers us. Christmas marks the birth of Jesus and is followed by the season of Epiphany, where we tell the stories of Jesus’ early life and baptism. Pentecost, at the beginning of the summer season, remembers how God has sent the Holy Spirit to continue to shape us and call us into relationship.
The church year sets aside time to get ready for these important celebrations.
Lent is a six-week time of preparation in late winter. It’s marked by the colour purple, indicating a serious and reflective time. Many Christians take on a Lenten practice, such as additional study, prayer, and sometimes even fasting. This is a time when we recall our human frailty and how we yearn for God’s presence. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and concludes with the Great Vigil of Easter.
Advent & Christmas
Advent is a four-week time of preparation in December, leading up to Christmas. It’s marked by the colour blue, which is traditionally associated with Jesus’ mother, the Virgin Mary. This is the time of year when we wait and watch in anticipation until we greet Jesus at Christmas.
Pentecost is characterized by the colour red, symbolizing how God’s Holy Spirit came in wind and in fire. Pentecost is celebrated in early summer, 50 days after Easter. In the days after Pentecost, the church marks time with the colour green. This season continues through the summer and fall, roughly matching the growing and harvest times. During this time, the church focuses on the life and teachings of Jesus. We grow and learn during this season.
Throughout the church year, we also honour and keep saint’s days and other holy days.