Right above my computer hangs this beautiful, if not confusing, Christian seasons calendar.
This calendar isn’t ordered like most calendars. Not only do the twelve days of Christmas get their own page, this calendar ends November 30, since December 1 marks the first day of the new Christian year. Yes, it is Thanksgiving week, but perhaps more importantly, we are nearing Christian New Year’s Eve. Break out the kazoos and champagne!
At times, I have felt uncertain about the purpose of and meaning behind the liturgical year and all its strange seasons. And yet, at least at this point in my life, I think the church year provides a meaningful framework for thinking about God and especially the life of Jesus. It helps us to think about the story of Jesus as a whole, including the different aspects of his life– from his birth being foretold, his birth taking place, his teachings, his own experiences with temptation, his death, resurrection, ascension, and his living on in the church today. It’s a tool for comprehending this grand narrative, still unfolding in our lives and in our world. Plus, it’s a tool for us to understand our own seasons of rising and dying, our own endings and beginnings, our own struggle with temptation, and the way the Spirit is living on in us.
This coming Sunday, December 1, I will say more about why I have grown to appreciate the church year. I will do this primarily during the Sunday school hour. All are invited back to the Sanctuary (after donuts and coffee of course) for a fuller invitation into the Advent season. This will include learning some new Advent songs. I have enjoyed preparing for this hour. Hope you come! (The next quarter of adult Sunday school classes will not begin until December 8.)
Oh, and if you want to learn more about this Christian seasons calendar go to www.TheChristianCalendar.com