There are typically 7 seasons within the Christian calendar: Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Holy Week, Easter and Ordinary Time (or Season after Pentecost). They take us through a cycle – a rhythm of living – of expectation, celebration, illumination, listening, remembering, shouting halleluiahs, and intentional living.
(Click on the Season to find out more of the history of that season.)
Advent… is a season of exectation. We listen to the prophets foretell of the birth of a Messiah. We listen to the stories of a barren woman who becomes pregnant in her old age and a young virgin who finds herself with Child. And we wait expectantly for what, or rather Who, is to come.
Christmas… is a season of celebration! We celebrate this long awaited Messiah – this God with Us – come to earth. We sing with Elizabeth and Mary songs of jubilation and victory. We smile with Simeon and Anna as they meet and bless this One they have so longed to see. We celebrate for 12 days, for it is no small thing that God has set foot on our planet.
Epiphany… is a time of illumination. It is a season in which we remember the Magi showing and revealing Jesus to be “a light of revelation to the Gentiles”. It is a season in which we read of the life of Jesus and we grow in discipleship toward Him. It is a season in which we work to show and reveal the light of Jesus to the world.
Lent …is a time in which we come back into a listening position. It invites us to reflect upon the temptation of Christ and encourages us to enter a time of prayer and preparation for Easter. It is a deeply reflective time – looking at our lives, our relationships, and our work – asking us to change where we are not in obedience to the Lordship of Jesus. It is a time when many of us give up or add something from/to our lives and so we live uncomfortably for a time. As we listen for the voice of God, we hear Him saying the word, “trust”.
Holy Week… is the time that we enter fully into the story of the last week of Jesus’ life. It is a remembering time. We listen to the stories, hear the emotion, perhaps even taste the agony of His journey of suffering. Our readings focus on the events from the Triumphal Entry to the burial of Jesus’ body. We also focus on the last words and phrases of Jesus…and above all, we remember.
Easter… is a 50 day season to shout Halleluiahs! of the resurrection of Jesus. It starts with jubilant rejoicing on Easter Sunday as we celebrate that the grave could not hold Jesus down. We read the stories of Jesus appearing to His disciples, to the women and to others for 50 days. We celebrate as people of the resurrection!! Our celebration ends with Pentecost – the coming of the Spirit to stay and the birth of the church.
Ordinary Time… is not called “ordinary” because it is mundane or common but because it is “ordinal”, “numbered”, or “counted time”. It is a season of intentional living in which we ask God to “teach us to number our days…and establish Thou the work or our hands”. The color for the season is green, sybolizing growth and discipleship.