What is the liturgical year?

You’d be surprised how often pastors hear this question within the church. To be fair, I don’t think we often talk enough about the liturgical seasons in the church, and if you didn’t notice that the paraments (cloths on the altar and pulpits) change you may not even notice that we have different seasons either! 

The liturgical year guides us on a journey through our faith development and growth. We have the “big” seasons of Advent and Lent. These typically dominate most of the conversation and focus of our churches, but what are some of the others to be aware of? 

Christmas doesn’t actually begin until Christmas day. Did you know it’s actually a liturgical season within the church? Where did you think “the 12 days of Christmas” came from? 

Epiphany is the time following Christmas, and it is a time for us to focus on how God is at work in the world and in our lives. It serves as a time of awakening and recognition for us. 

 The “white” Sundays. What I mean by this is Sundays on which the paraments are to be white for worship: Christ the King, Baptism of the Lord, Transfiguration Sunday are the big three of these. Essentially all one Sunday deals, but important to our understanding of who Christ is. 

Pentecost. I love Pentecost, and not just because we get to put red up everywhere! Pentecost is a season of the Spirit and remembering the work that it began in the first disciples and now continues to call on us to do. 

Ordinary Time. Ordinary time is one of the longest stretches of liturgical season in the church. It follows Pentecost and it runs through the start of Advent. During Ordinary Time we are challenged to work on our own growth and to dive deeper into the stories we think we know and to learn more about where the Risen Christ and the Spirit are at work in the world here and now. 

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