The Church Year is divided into six seasons. Each season has a different focus, or celebrates a different Christian event. Christmas and Easter are the two most commonly known seasons, but not everyone knows specifics about the other seasons of the year. This guide to the Church Year provides details on each season.


 

ADVENT


When it is:

• Advent is the beginning of the church year.
• It starts on the 4th Sunday before Christmas and lasts through December 24th.


What it means:

• Advent is the season of hopeful waiting.
• It is a time when we remember how the people in the Old Testament waited for the coming of the Savior!
• We, ourselves, are waiting for Christ to come again. Advent means "coming."


Colors:

• Blue is the color of hope and the color of the sky. Jesus brings hope, and his coming brings light, like the dawn.
• Some churches use purple during Advent which stands for royalty, because Jesus is the King of Kings.


Symbols:

• The Scroll represents God's promise to send a Savior. This promise was recorded on scrolls in the Old Testament.
• The Lighted Candle represents the promised light - Jesus, The Light of the world.
• The Advent Wreath has a circle of evergreens that symbolizes God's unending love and eternal life with God. The candles are the lights that Jesus brought into the world.

 


 

CHRISTMAS


When it is:

• Christmas begins on Christmas Day, December 25th, and ends January 5th. "The 12 Days of Christmas."


What it means:

• We celebrate the birth of the Savior, Jesus. God has become man - a gift of love for us.


Colors:

• White represents joy, light and perfection, all words which describe Jesus.
• Red and Green can also represent Christmas. See holly leaves and berries, below.


Symbols:

• A Herald Angel announced Jesus' birth to the shepherds
• Holly Leaves and berries are often seen at Christmas time. Jesus was born to die for our sins. The thorny green leaves represent the crown of thorns Jesus wore on the cross. The red berries represent Jesus' blood, shed for us.
• The Manger helps us remember Jesus' humble birth.

 


 

EPIPHANY


When it is:

• Epiphany begins January 6th and lasts until Shrove Tuesday (the day before Ash Wednesday). It can encompass 4 to 9 Sundays.


What it means:

• We remember how the Star led the wise men to Jesus. This can help us think about our mission and how we can lead others to Jesus. We also celebrate Jesus' Baptism.


Colors:

• White is the color used on the first day of Epiphany and the day of the baptism of our Lord.
• Green is used throughout the season to remind us of life and growth. Christ's coming to the world led to the growth of God's Kingdom.


Symbols:

• The Five-Pointed Star led the wise men to Jesus.
• Cross Crosslet - The cross stands for the cross on which Jesus died. The outer crosslets represent the directions in which Christianity spread.
• Three drops of water, dripping from a cockle shell symbolize baptism. During Epiphany, we celebrate the baptism of Jesus.

 


 

LENT


When it is:

• Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and continues through the Saturday of Holy Week. There are 40 days in Lent, excluding Sundays. Lent includes Holy Week - Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. Each year, the timing of Lent is determined by when Easter Sunday falls. (See Easter).


What it means:

• During Lent, we remember what it means to baptized children of God, and also Jesus' suffering and death. We should be thinking about our sins and feel sorry for them.


Colors:

• Purple and Violet symbolize humility and penitence (feeling sorry for our sins). When we think of Jesus dying for our sins, we should feel humble and penitent.
• Black is the color used on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.


Symbols:

• The Latin Cross reminds us that Jesus died to free us from the power of sin and death.
• A Crown of thorns was placed on Jesus' head by the soldiers. Jesus was the King who came to suffer for the sins of the world.
• A Cup, Grapes, Wheat and Bread are symbols of Holy Communion. The cup / grapes are Jesus' blood, and the wheat / bread are Jesus' body.

 


 

EASTER


When it is:

• The Easter season begins on Easter Sunday and continues for 50 days. This is the most important event on the Christian calendar. Easter always falls on the Sunday after the first full moon of spring.


What it means:

• We celebrate the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Resurrection means coming alive after being dead.


Colors:

• White reminds us Jesus' purity and perfection.
• Gold reminds us that Jesus' rising is like the brightness of the sun coming up.


Symbols:

• Lamb with the banner - The lamb represents Jesus, the Lamb of God, sacrificed for the forgiveness of our sins. The banner stands for Christ's victory over death.
• The Butterfly represents the resurrection and eternal life.
• The Cross in Glory reminds us of the new day that dawned when Jesus triumphed over death.

 


 

PENTECOST


When it is:

• Pentecost begins 50 days after Easter and continues until Advent starts again. It is the longest season of the church year, encompassing 23 - 28 Sundays.


What it means:

• During Pentecost, we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit and the growth of the Christian Church. It is a time to practice our faith, guided and challenged by the Holy Spirit.


Colors:

• Red is used on the first day of Pentecost, as a reminder of the flames over the apostle's heads
• Green is used for the remainder of Pentecost. It reminds us of life and growth.


Symbols:

• The Tongues of Fire represent the gift of the Holy Spirit.
• A Vine and its branches symbolize Jesus and how we are connected to Him. We live and grow in Him.
• The Ship represents the Christian Church. Christ is the captain and the believers are the passengers.