Understanding the CHURCH YEAR:
The Church Year is a Liturgical Calendar that unifies the church in the celebration of major feasts. Each of these feasts is part of a Season of the Church year and the vestments and paraments change color to indicate which season or feast we are celebrating. Here are some descriptions of our major feasts. For information on our Paraments, please see the Our Paraments page.
ADVENT SEASON – begins our church year, four Sundays before Christmas Day. The first Sunday of Advent falls either the last week of November or the first week of December, and follows the last Sunday of the previous year when we celebrated Christ the King Sunday. We use an Advent Wreath, with four candles and light one each week. The third week is the pink candle, symbolizing Joy. Four weeks of Advent remembers the 4000 years the Jews waited for the Messiah. We celebrate Christ’s coming not only at Christmas but His coming at the end of the World as prophecized in the Book of Revelations. We use Blue Paraments in Advent.
During Advent in 2022, we studied the book Prepare the Way for the Lord: Advent and the Message of John the Baptist by Pastor Adam Hamilton
CHRISTMAS SEASON – December 25-January 5 – The Twelve Days of Christmas
EPIPHANY SEASON – January 6-Tuesday before Ash Wednesday – four to seven weeks when we celebrate Christ made manifest to the world. On January 6, the Feast of Epiphany, we remember the Three Wise Men and how they came to visit the Christ Child and returned home a different route when threatened by King Herod. Scholars believe these wise men may be descendants of Jews who remained in Babylon after the captivity and remembered the stories of the coming of the Messiah into the world from the Book of Isaiah, Chapters 52-53. Jesus may have been a little older than twelve days when they arrived, perhaps as old as two years, but definitely before Joseph and Mary took Jesus to Egypt to protect him from King Herod. Another great feast during ‘Epiphany Season is the Feast of the Transfiguration, (see photos below) which remembers when Jesus Christ took Apostles Peter, James, and John up on Mount Tabor and showed them His heavenly glory. He also brought Moses and Elijah from heaven to meet the Apostles, to represent the Law and the Prophets. These men had long been dead and Jesus wanted us to know there is Life after Death for those who believe in Christ. A third feast is that of the Raising of Lazarus from the Dead, which also gives up hope in our own Resurrection some day.
Three works of art depicting the Transifiguration: The first is from a church in Alia, Sicily. The second is a Needlework Tapestry by our former Pastor H. Maxwell Walton. The third is a famous painting by the Italian Renaissance artist Giovanni Bellini who died in 1516 just prior to the Protestant Reformation.
Fourth Sunday of Epiphany: Lesson from Dr. Donna Smith –
SEASON OF LENT – Ash Wednesday-Holy Saturday For at least 40 days, we study and remember the Passion and Death of Jesus Christ on the Cross as atonement for the sins of mankind for all who believe in Him. The final week of Lent we celebrate Holy Week, with celebrations of the triumphal march into Jerusalem of Jesus Christ on Palm Sunday, the institution of the Sacament of Communion on Maundy Thursday, and the Death of Jesus on the Cross on Good Friday. Purple is the color of the vestments and paraments during Lent.
EASTER SEASON – Easter Sunday until Saturday before Pentecost – During this time we spend seven weeks studying the Gospels and the Book of Acts and learning about the Resurrection of Christ as True God and True Man. We also learn how the Apostles heard the Good News of His Resurrection as He appeared to them several times in the flesh. Easter Season concludes after the Ascension of Christ is celebrated about 40 days after Easter, usually on the last Sunday of Easter Season.
THE ASCENSION – We celebrate the Ascension of Jesus Christ into heaven on the last Sunday of the Easter Season. Jesus Christ ascended into heaven 40 days after His Resurrection from the Dead.
PENTECOST SEASON – Pentecost Sunday until Christ the King Sunday (end of church year). We wear Red on Pentecost Sunday and we use Red Paraments. The article below from the May/June 2022 Lamplighter Newsletter of Christ Lutheran Church gives a good description of Pentecost:
PENTECOST – The Day of Pentecost as painted by local artist Yvonne DePugh, a member of our Congregation, in the Abstract Expressionism style. To see more of our Abstract Exressionism paintings, please see the Our Abstract Paintings page.
SUNDAYS AFTER PENTECOST
The first Sunday after Pentecost is dedicated to the Holy Trinity – God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit as Our Triune God. We recite the Athanasian Creed which goes into detail describing the Holy Trinity. This Creed is named after St. Athanasius, shown here in a Greek icon painting. Our Pastor John Thompson is a member of the Society of the Holy Trinity.
SUNDAYS AFTER PENTECOST usually number more than twenty. These Sundays are in the late Spring and Summer and early fall, and we study the teachings of Jesus in this part of the year. The Parament below, used in the Sundays after Pentecost, shows the Parable of the Loaves and the Fishes, which tells how Jesus Christ multiplied a few loaves of bread and a few fish to feed the huge crowd that had gathered to listen to Him preach.
Every three years when we are studying the Gospel of Luke, on 18 Sundays in the Sundays after Pentecost Season, we follow St. Luke as he travels with Jesus Christ as Jesus ministers to his followers and proclaims the Gospel message
CHRIST THE KING SUNDAY – ends the church year, usually the fourth or fifth Sunday of November. We celebrate Jesus Christ as King of Kings, Lord of Lords and Ruler of the Universe. The following Sunday a new church year begins. The feast of St. Andrew falls around this time and is often used as a symbol of the beginning and ending of the church year. The window below is our St. Andrew’s window. To see a full explanation of this and our other windows with symbols representing saints, please visit our Small Stained Glass Windows page. The next year will emphasize a different one of the three Synoptic Gospels in a three year cycle. In 2023 we are studying Matthew. Next year in 2024 is Mark and the following year 2025 is Luke and then back to Matthew in 2026.