Elca Church Year Calendar 2023

Elca Church Year Calendar 2023 – Below is a quick guide to the Church’s traditional seasons and liturgical calendar. This introduction is the perfect starting point for learning about Divine Service throughout the year and is an easy hub to review what you’ve learned! Seasons of the Church Year Isn’t a season just a season? Don’t worry, it is! The Christian Church has spring showers and autumn leaves just like everyone else, but you will not find summer or winter among the seasons of the Christian Church! In the language of the Church, the seasons refer to the different times of the year when we focus on a particular aspect of the Christian life. Let’s think, for example, about the resurrection of Christ. You probably already know that Easter is the day we celebrate the resurrection of Christ. Well, the events of Easter are so important to the Church that we don’t just take a week to think about it! Instead, the Christian church devotes an entire season to Easter, starting with Easter Sunday and seven weeks until the celebration of another important biblical event, Pentecost. Some seasons of the church year are easy to remember, such as Easter or Christmas, while others, such as Advent, Lent and “Ordinary” season, may be less familiar. Do not worry! God’s word and work for you is constant regardless of the season. Only by coming to church every Sunday will you be able to see the gifts He offers. As you attend services, you will naturally follow the celebration of the seasons. But if you want to know more, you’ve come to the right place. The Christian calendar has been preserved in Christian churches around the world for several reasons. First, a regular calendar is useful for keeping memories in front of us. Just as God commanded the Jewish people to remember how he had redeemed them in the past (eg, Passover, Exodus 12:14; Leviticus 23:4–8), so the early Christians remembered historical events related to time. important to their faith, as Jesus encouraged his disciples (Luke 22:19). Second, following their Jewish forebears, Christians view the regularity of the feasts as instructive moments when the celebration of events in the life of Christ was used to tell and retell the good news. Finally, Christians recognize that this life is not an end in itself. Christ’s victory over death means that everyday life is directed beyond the everyday into eternity. The calendar of Christian events unites today’s believers with believers of the past and future. – Daily Prayer Treasury, p. 8 Below are brief overviews of each season of the Church year to learn how, why, and how the liturgical calendar was created and its history. Where do we start? The best place to begin to understand the seasons is in the person of Christ himself. (Him and colors, but we’ll get to that in a moment.) Church seasons largely follow the “seasons” and major events of Christ’s life: His birth, ministry, death, resurrection, and ascension. You already know two: Christmas and Easter. Every season comes with another season to cook. During Advent, the Church focuses on the coming of Christ. Advent ends with Christmas, the coming of Christ through His birth as a baby. The season of Lent serves as a time of preparation for Easter, taking on a darker hue and reflecting on the suffering that Christ endured during His death on the cross. These seasons are the main festivals of the Church year. If I go to church, how will I know the season? One of the best tools for instantly recognizing the season is the color used in each celebration. (Your pastor will probably mention the season at some point during the service.) Have you seen banners on the walls or colorful altar covers in church before? What about the clothes your pastor wears? If your church observes traditional seasonal holidays, all of these colors will make sense! There are dedicated colors for each season. The main colors you will see the most are green, a symbol of growth; black, a symbol of sadness; purple, symbol of Christ’s kingdom; white, symbol of purity; and red, a symbol of power. More recently, some churches have begun to occasionally use blue for hope; gold, for greatness; and red, for sacrifice and martyrdom. Below, we’ll associate each of these colors with their respective seasons. Advent Dates: Fourth Sunday before Christmas (December 25th) to December 24th Midday Prayer Colors: Violet or Blue, Rose The church year begins with Advent, a series of four weeks before Christmas. The name comes from the Latin word adventus, which means “to come”. This name recognizes the fact that in Advent the Church looks forward to Christ’s past, present and future – in the past His birth as a child, in the present when He comes to us in His Word and Mysteries, and in the future when He returns. to judge him from the world. Advent emphasizes the coming of Christ. The Old Testament prophecies about the Messiah and the ministry of John the Baptist remind us that Christ is God’s promise to us from the very beginning (see Genesis 3:15). Often, churches add evening services in the middle of the week to help separate the season and reflect on God’s promise of a Savior. The typical colors of the season are either purple, indicating that Christ is the royal Prince of Peace and Redeemer of the nations, or blue, which refers to the Messianic hope promised to Israel and the world. Many churches will also use an Advent wreath with three purple and one pink (or pink) candles surrounding a larger white candle. Each week, one candle is lit on the wreath as a countdown to Christmas, when the white candle is finally lit as a sign of Christ’s incarnation. This season includes the feast days of Saint Andrew the Apostle (November 30) and Saint Thomas the Apostle (December 21). Season of Christmas Dates: Evening Prayer on Christmas Eve (December 24) to Midday Prayer on January 5. Colors: Gold and White At Christmas, the Church celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ from the Virgin Mary in Bethlehem. This is a big deal! So much so that the traditional Christmas season is not just one day, but twelve! To begin the season, some churches will hold a service that stems from the tradition (sometimes still practiced) of a midnight service as the first and immediate celebration of Christ’s birth. Beginning with Christmas, the season continues for twelve days and ends with a new season, the Epiphany of our Lord. The colors of the Christmas season are gold for Christmas, one of the two golden days on the calendar, and white for the rest of the season. Several other important feast days fall between Christmas and Epiphany, including the Feast of Saint Stephen the Martyr (December 26), Saint John the Apostle and Evangelist (December 27), and the Feast of the Holy Innocents and Martyrs (December 28). In addition to Christmas, the season also includes two holidays – both the eve (December 31) and the day of Jesus’ circumcision and naming (January 1), where Christ fulfilled the Law for us in eight days. Epiphany Dates: Evening Prayer from January 5 to the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday Colors: White and Green Epiphany begins with the Feast of the Epiphany, which celebrates the visit of the wise men to the infant Christ. The word epiphany means “manifestation” or “revelation.” It comes from the Greek word epiphaneia. Epiphany is also the first time the Messiah was shared with those outside of Israel, the Gentiles. When the Gentile wise men come to worship Jesus, they show that everyone now has access to God. Now all people, Jews and Gentiles, can come to the temple of God and worship, because Jesus is the new temple: God in the flesh. – Daily Prayer Treasury, p. 9 The first Sunday after Epiphany is the Feast of the Baptism of our Lord, which celebrates Christ taking upon himself the sins of Israel and all mankind, and showing repentance to our erring world. The last Sunday of Epiphany celebrates the Transfiguration of Christ. It is commemorated on the day when Christ shared his divinity with his disciples Peter, James and John on the mountain. Appearing between Moses, the symbol of the law, and Elijah, the symbol of the prophets, Christ showed himself as the fulfillment of both. Epiphany colors are white for Epiphany itself and green for the remaining weeks. Festivals this season celebrate St. Peter’s Confession (January 18), St. Timothy (January 24), St. Paul’s return (January 25), St. Titus (January 26) and others depending on when Ash Wednesday falls. . Lent dates: Ash Wednesday to noon prayer Holy Saturday Colors: black, purple, red,

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