Rediscovering the Meaning of Church Seasons

The Church Calendar also tells a different story than the world, and marks time in a different way. While the world marks time by how busy we are, when the markets open and close, when the school bell rings or when Santa brings us presents, the Church marks time on the life of Christ. We remember seasons of longing, of darkness, of near hopelessness. We remember seasons of light breaking into darkness, God among us, hope fulfilled. We remember seasons of sacrifice, death and uncertainty. We remember seasons of impossible resurrection, creation of community and life in abundance. These seasons are superimposed on the rest of our lives. These seasons allow us to put everything else into perspective.

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“The church year has seasons of darkness, of light, or sorrow, of rejoicing, of just getting through. Our lives have such seasons too. By incorporating these experiences, the church year hallows them, reminding us that all time is sacred because God is present in it.”                                                                                            – Kimberlee Conway Ireton, The Circle of Seasons

Spring has sprung here in Connecticut—and I must confess all this green is good for the soul. Living in a place where the seasons are extreme, particularly the winters, the coming of warm weather, blue skies and green grass is much welcomed. Seasons are good for us. Seasons help us to mark time. Seasons help us to make transitions. Seasons help us to start anew.

Seasons also offer rhythm and anticipated change. Many churches are rediscovering the Church Calendar and the seasons of the Christian Year. It is sad that many of us lost it to begin with—because the Church Calendar helps us to order the seasons of our lives in light of God’s Kingdom. You see, these seasons include times of celebration and feasting, times of mourning and fasting, and times where life is lived in the mundane and ordinary. All of these are parts of our lives. To live faithfully means that we must learn what it means to seek God in whatever season of life we are in.

The Church Calendar also tells a different story than the world, and marks time in a different way. While the world marks time by how busy we are, when the markets open and close, when the school bell rings or when Santa brings us presents, the Church marks time on the life of Christ. We remember seasons of longing, of darkness, of near hopelessness. We remember seasons of light breaking into darkness, God among us, hope fulfilled. We remember seasons of sacrifice, death and uncertainty. We remember seasons of impossible resurrection, creation of community and life in abundance. These seasons are superimposed on the rest of our lives. These seasons allow us to put everything else into perspective.

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The Church calendar tells the same story, over and over again—year after year. It reminds us that, though with each new year our circumstances change, God’s faithfulness is always the same. It also reminds us that with the darkness, hopelessness and uncertainty come the promise of light, hopefulness and resurrection. As we allow the rhythm of God’s story to become the heartbeat of our lives—we learn that God is present in all seasons of life, and that this season too shall pass.

How does your church tell the story of God? Do you use the calendar? How do you incorporate it into worship gatherings?

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