This Sunday sees the beginning of a new church year. Church ‘years’ or church calendars seek to walk through the outline of the Gospel in tune with the seasonal rhythm of a calendar year. This developed historically and is not the same between West and East. We are part of the Western Tradition.
Christmas, marking Jesus’ birth, is always on 25 December. But Easter, marking his resurrection, varies by a month or so as it is based on a lunar calendar, and not the solar calendar represented in the Julian Calendar with 365.25 days a year. Our calendar devices will know even years in advance!
The church year begins with a solemn season of waiting for Christ in the four weeks before Christmas. The colour trimmings for this are purple which is a serious colour just as it is in Lent. Many people overlook this season and act as if Christmas begins when shop decorations come out or in this country, when Sint Niklas has moved on. As a liturgical church -even if lightly so- our Christmas season begins on Christmas Eve (24 December) before Christmas Day. That is why we will not be singing ‘Silent Night’ until Christmas but we will be singing ‘O Come, O Come Emmanuel’ as well as ‘Come Lord Jesus’ — looking ahead to the second coming of Christ.
We will mark our journey through Advent with an Advent Wreath of four purple candles and one white candle.
Preaching will be on preparation to receive Christ. Are we ready?