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Seasons of the Church Year

  • Facts
    • Length:  Four Sundays before Christmas Day (the earliest day on which Advent can begin is November 27 and the latest
      December 3)
    • Color used:  Purple or Dark Blue
    • Special liturgical acts:  use of the Advent Candles to mark the four Sundays.
  • Themes
    • Advent prepares us for the celebration of Christmas, the Feast of the birth of Jesus, the Incarnation (the "making flesh" of God).  Three figures dominate the season:  the Old Testament prophets (especially Isaiah), St. John the Baptist, and St. Mary, Jesus' mother.  The Old Testament prophets remind us of the vision of God, the purpose of God's coming among us, to establish God's reign of justice and peace.  John the Baptist tells us to prepare for this reign we must first repent, that is, acknowledge the ways we get in the way of God's coming and re-orient our lives.  Mary reminds us that we must deliberately say, "yes," to God's call, and we can do so because, "nothing is impossible with God."
    • Advent begins with a Sunday reflecting on Jesus' promise to "come again."  We are reminded this is a mystery, not something that can be calculated or foretold by human beings.  We must wait, and not in a passive sense.  We must watch and "do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with God.
  • Prayer
    • To begin the season:  Almighty God, give us grace to caste away the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which your Son came to visit us in great humility; that at the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal.
    • To end the season:  Purify our conscience, Almighty God, by your daily visitation, that your Son Jesus Christ, at his coming, may find in us a mansion prepared fro himself.
  • Scriptures
    • The Prophets:  Isaiah 11:1-10, 35:1-10, 40:1-11; Micah 5:2-4
    • The Gospels:  Matthew 24:37-44; Mark 1:1-8; Luke 1:26-56

Ordinary Time (The Season after Pentecost)
  • Facts
    • The Book of Common Prayer calls the Sundays between the Day of Pentecost and Advent "The Season after Pentecost."  Our Roman Catholic sisters and brothers (and others) call this "Ordinary Time." The latter is gaining use among Episcopalians, largely to get away from the mistaken notion that this is a season of Pentecost.
    • Length:  Depending on the date of Easter, from 23 to 27 Sundays.
    • Color:  Green
  • Themes
    • There are no particular themes of this time of the Church year, although the time always begins with Trinity Sunday and always ends with the Sunday of the Reign of Christ (or Christ the King).  In between we read through the Old Testament, Epistles and Gospels sequentially (except when we use an alternative track which thematically pairs the Old Testament and Gospel readings).
    • Generally speaking, to play off the color of the time, it is a time to hear the story of Scripture and grow in faith and understanding.
  • Prayers
    • Blessed Lord, who caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning:  Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in our savior Jesus Christ.
    • O God, you have taught us to keep all your commandments by loving you and our neighbor: Grant us the grace of your Holy Spirit, that we may be devoted to you with our whole heart, and united to one another with pure affection.