The Christian Year is a spiritual tradition that has been passed down and developed by the Church for over a millennium. Every Sunday Gathering should center on the story of Christ, but this annually-repeating calendar invites a congregation to chronologically journey through Christ’s life, remembering, re-enacting, and ultimately being formed by—and into—God’s story of salvation over the course of 52 weeks.
Each year at College Wesleyan Church we journey with Christ through six seasons of his life: (1) the anticipation of his coming in Advent, (2) the celebration of his arrival in Christmas, (3) the wonder of his life on earth in Epiphany, (4) the reckoning his journey to the cross in Lent, (5) his triumph over death in Easter, (6) and his life within our Church—to which we are committed—in Ordinary Time.
Advent invites us to anticipate Christ’s coming.
We remember the prophecies of long ago and anticipate the fulfillment of God’s promise. “Listen! It’s the voice of someone shouting, ‘Clear the way through the wilderness for the Lord! Make a straight highway through the wasteland for our God!” (Isaiah 40:3).
Time: Beginning on the 4th Sunday before December 25th Color: BLUE (the color of hope) Special Days: Gaudete Sunday (the 3rd Sunday of Advent, the turn in the waiting to rejoicing) Christmas Eve (December 24th)
Christmas invites us to celebrate Christ as Emmanuel, God with us.
We remember the birth of our Lord and his name, Jesus. “Don’t be afraid! I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!” (Luke 2:10).
Time: December 25th – January 5th (12 days) Color: WHITE (the color of joy & celebration) Special Days: Christmas Day (December 25th) The Massacre of the Holy Innocents (December 28th) The Holy Name of Jesus (January 1st)
Epiphany invites us to wonder at Christ’s presence on earth.
We remember Jesus’ life on earth and marvel at his ministry. “As Jesus came up out of the water, he saw the heavens splitting apart and the Holy Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice from heaven said, “You are my dearly loved Son, and you bring me great joy” (Mark 1:10-11).
Time: January 6th — Ash Wednesday Color: GREEN (the color of growth) Special Days: Transfiguration Sunday (the Sunday before Ash Wednesday) WHITE (the color of joy & celebration)
Lent invites us to reckon with the death of Christ and our own mortality.
We remember Jesus’ journey to the cross and hear him say, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross daily, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it” (Luke 9:23-24).
Time: 46 Days before the Season of Easter (beginning on Ash Wednesday) Color: PURPLE (the color of penitence and royalty) Special Days: Ash Wednesday (The Sunday before Ash Wednesday) Holy Week (The final week of Easter): RED (the color of blood, of passion, and love) Palm Sunday Holy Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday Maundy Thursday BLACK (the color of death) Good Friday Holy Saturday
Easter invites us to triumph with Christ over death.
We remember the resurrection of our Lord—his triumph over the grave. “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” (1 Corinthians 15:54b-55).
Time: The 50 days following the season of Lent Color: WHITE (the color of joy & celebration) Special Days: The Ascension (the 7th Sunday of Easter) Pentecost (the 8th Sunday of Easter—the 50th day) RED (the color of fire, symbolizing the Spirit)
Ordinary Time invites us to commit to being the body of Christ on earth.
We remember the continual reign of Christ and partner with him—as the Church—to see his kingdom come. “‘I am the Alpha and the Omega—the beginning and the end,’ says the Lord. ‘I am the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come—the Almighty One’” (Revelation 1:8).
Time: Trinity Sunday (Sunday following Pentecost) through Christ the King Sunday (Sunday before Advent) Color: GREEN (the color of growth) Special Days: Trinity Sunday (the 1st Sunday of Ordinary Time) WHITE (the color of joy & celebration) World Communion Sunday (the 1st Sunday of October) WHITE All Saints Sunday (the Sunday following November 1st, “All Saints Day”) WHITE Christ the King Sunday (the last Sunday of the Christian Year—the Sunday before Advent) GOLD (a color of royalty)