The Church's Year
The Church of England, together with the Roman Catholic Church and others, use a calendar which divides the year into different seasons, it even starts at a different time to the usual year. The seasons are:
What we celebrate: Jesus will come again!
This starts about the beginning of December and is traditionally the beginning of the church’s year. It is a time to look forward to the time when Jesus will come back to earth again. We prepare to meet Jesus by looking at our lives to see what is wrong and needs changing. We also remember when Jesus came for the first time.
What we celebrate: Jesus was born as one of us.
The Twelve days of Christmas start with Christmas day. This is a time of rejoicing because God sent Jesus to us to be our saviour.
What we celebrate: Jesus is for everybody, regardless of race, background or circumstance.
This starts with the twelfth day of Christmas and we think of the visit of the wise men to Jesus after he was born. We remember that Jesus was shown to the gentiles (people who are not Jews) and that they worshipped Him.
ORDINARY TIME – The Sundays after Epiphany
There is no special theme here.
What we celebrate: Jesus fasted in the wilderness.
This starts with Ash Wednesday. Lent is a time when we remember that Jesus fasted for forty days in the wilderness, where he was tested by the devil. Many Anglicans will do without something they like during Lent. The special day in Lent is Good Friday, the day Jesus died on the cross for us. The season is a time to say sorry for our sins.
What we celebrate: Jesus rose from the dead!
This starts with Easter day itself when we remember Jesus rising from the dead. It is a time to rejoice and is often celebrated with eggs, a symbol of life from something which seems to be dead. There are two important days in Easter, Ascension Day to remember Jesus going back to heaven to be with His Father, and Pentecost, to remember when the Apostles received the Holy Spirit.
What we celebrate: The day that the church was born.
Christ was crucified, rose again, spent forty days with his disciples, then ascended to heaven. Pentecost immediately followed. For two millennia, Christians have been celebrating the church’s birthday with joy and exuberance. Pentecost takes place 50 days after Easter Sunday.
ORDINARY TIME – Trinity Sunday and the Sundays after
On Trinity Sunday we are reminded that God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
There is no special theme for the other Sundays.