Why is the church decorated in purple during Lent? Why is Christmas always on December 25, but Easter is on different dates all the time? What is Ordinary Time?
Our lives are ruled by a variety of calendars: the annual calendar that runs from January through December, a school calendar that marks semesters and summer vacations, the agricultural calendar that cycles around seasons of planting and harvesting, the fiscal calendar that guides the ebb and flow of financial matters.
Churches often plan activities and events around all these different calendars. But the most important calendar in the life of the church is the liturgical calendar. The liturgical calendar highlights the seasons in the church year, seasons that revolve around the birth, life, death, resurrection, ascension, and promised return of Jesus Christ. The liturgical calendar shapes our lives as the people of God. Everything in the church—from weekly Sunday worship to special, seasonal celebrations—focuses first and foremost on Jesus Christ.
The liturgical calendar includes Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Holy Week, Easter, Pentecost, and Ordinary Time. The church also observes other days, such as the Baptism of the Lord, the Transfiguration of the Lord, the Ascension of Jesus, Trinity Sunday, All Saints’ Day, and Christ the King Sunday.
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