Worship and the Church Year
The Church has had its own calendar for millennia--a natural year-long rhythm that is sometimes consistent with, and sometimes in conflict with, the calendar of the world around it. At First Lutheran, we follow the liturgical calendar to help form our lives as disciples, prepare us for faithful daily living and open us to rich experiences of the Church's festivals and seasons.
The yearly cycle is unchanging, but some of the seasons vary in length, so some dates are consistent with the regular calendar, and some are movable. Christmas is always December 25, for example, but Easter may fall on any date between late March and late April.
The Church's calendar looks like this:
- Advent is the four Sundays (and following weekdays) before Christmas; it is a time of preparing for the infant Jesus' birth at Bethlehem and the adult Christ's return at the end of time.
- Christmas is twelve days of celebrating Jesus' birth, December 25-January 5.
- Epiphany is the season of Jesus' epiphany, or "revealing," to the world. It begins with the celebration of the Visit of the Magi (the Festival of Epiphany), January 6, and can last from four to nine weeks.
- Lent is the 40 days (not counting Sundays, which are "mini-festivals") from Ash Wednesday until Easter; it is a time of spiritual discipline (fasting, prayer, works of mercy) and preparation for the celebration of the Resurrection.
- Easter lasts 50 days (including Sundays, due to the festival nature of the entire season) and celebrates Christ's resurrection from the dead.
- Pentecost begins on the 50th day after Easter and continues for 23-28 weeks. It is a season for hearing Jesus' words about discipleship and remembering the growth of the Church from the first Pentecost through the end of time.
We invite you to join us in marking the seasons and celebrating the festivals that help us bear in mind that God's time infuses, yet is not confused, with our own.