Family of Christ the Servant Lutheran Church, grace and peace to you! November is here and we are all moving towards the holiday season of 2022. Did you know the Church Year is divided up into three main sections? They are the Time of Christmas, the Time of Easter, and the Time of the Church. The Time of Christmas is Advent/Christmas/Epiphany, the Time of Easter is Lent/Easter, and the Time of the Church is Pentecost. This month, the Pentecost Season comes to a close, culminating in Christ the King Sunday on November 20th, and the new Church year begins the 1st Sunday of Advent November 27th.
Why do we do this?
The observance of a season of Advent was common practice in the Christian Church after the ecumenical Council of Ephesus in 431 AD, to devote sermons on Sundays before Christmas to the theme of Advent. The oldest record of a feast of Christ’s Nativity is known to be in a Roman almanac, which indicates that the festival was observed by the Church in Rome in the year 336 AD. These records were written down at this time to be sure people were observing these practices way before they were actually written in an almanac or Church Council meeting.
Today, we can look back and see that the Church, going way back to the very early days, has been using a type of calendar like this because each of these main sections of the Church Year tells a part of the salvation story. Christmas time tells us the beginning of the story of Jesus, how the Father sent his only begotten son to be born of the Virgin Mary in Nazareth. Easter time tells us the story of what Jesus did for us. It tells us how he suffered and died, and rose from the dead for our salvation. The Church time tells us how the Spirit brings us into Jesus’ story: in the Word, which creates the faith that believes in Jesus as our Savior; in Baptism, which places us as members of the family of God, the Church; and the Lord’s Supper, which strengthens us with the Word and forgives our sins. This is the story of how God loves us and desires us to live in peace with Him.
For myself, I am happy that the Church Year has grown out of the common practices of the Christian Church over the centuries. I am happy it is not the invention of some man or pope in ancient history, or some solitary group of people. It has come out of centuries of Christians meeting together in worship, desiring order in worship and a common way of telling the story of our salvation from God through the life, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus, whom God had sent on our behalf.
As you see the colors inside the church change and hear the readings, know that they are all for a purpose designed to help tell that salvation story. We are engaging in a worship practice observed and enjoyed by millions upon millions of Christians over the ages down to us today. I appreciate that the Holy Spirit offers a way to order our days, and our worship, all for the Glory of God.
God's blessings to you!