INTRODUCTION TO THE CHURCH CALENDAR
Following the church calendar is about learning a new way to observe time. Most of us work from a fiscal or school calendar. The church calendar is about organizing our lives around the telling of the Story of God.
As we work our way through the themes and celebrations of the church calendar, we rehearse the movements of the Christian faith, allowing our lives to conform to the gospel.
Following the church calendar (sometimes called the liturgical calendar) involves the observance of seasons such as Advent, Lent, or Holy Week, as well as special days like Palm Sunday, Easter, and Pentecost. The calendar is organized into 3 years: Year A, B, and C. Each year has a corresponding list of Bible readings called a lectionary. The lectionary determines what scriptures will be used during worship each Sunday, as well as a list of daily Bible readings. These are the major movements of the church calendar:
Advent: four weeks leading up to Christmas.
Christmas: twelve days beginning Dec. 25.
Epiphany: Jan 6th until Ash Wednesday.
Lent: 6 weeks from Ash Wednesday to Easter.
Holy Week: Palm Sunday thru Easter Sunday.
Eastertide: 50 days from Easter to Pentecost.
Pentecost: the seven weeks following Easter.
Ordinary Time: the rest of the year.
Advent is the beginning of the new church calendar year (this advent begins Year B). Advent is meant to be a time of hopeful preparation and anticipation for the celebration of the birth of Christ.
One common Advent practice involves using an Advent wreath during Sunday worship and in a family or community group setting. Traditionally, the advent wreath has 5 candles, three purple candles for weeks 1-3, one pink candle for week 4, and one white candle for Christmas Eve.
USING THE FAMILY DEVOTIONAL GUIDE
What follows is an Advent Family Devotional Guide. Each weekday includes a reading and short devotional written by Dawn North.
Each weekend includes a guide to a family or group devotional time. This guide is for use each Sunday evening during advent, and involves the lighting of an advent wreath. The guides is meant for adults and children to spend time together, talking about advent, praying, reading the scripture, and preparing to celebrate Christmas.
Supplies you will need include an Advent wreath, M&Ms, dominos, and playing cards.
Take three or four minutes at the beginning of your time each week to explain why you are engaging in a special time of prayer, reading, and conversation about God.