One of the most common communal practices is the keeping of the Liturgical Year. Many Protestant traditions wonder about the importance of this practice. Look at it this way: keeping an alternative calendar to the secular one is a fundamental way of saying to ourselves and to others “We live in a different time, measured by different events, seen from the perspective of a cosmic history in which God plays a major role.” Imagine if we all had on our walls a calendar which started with the First Sunday in Advent and listed only the Christian Holy Days! Keeping the Holy Seasons is a way for the Christian community to remind itself of its basic story: of waiting, of breakthrough in God’s incarnation, the ministry of the one we follow, Jesus, his trial and execution, his risen status as the Christ and the ongoing story of the work of his Spirit in human history, culminating in the celebration of the coming of the Cosmic Christ, ending the Liturgical Year. If we opt to pray the Liturgical Year, it would go something like this:
- Advent: A time of reflection on darkness and waiting;
- Christmas: The recognition that God has incarnated in Jesus and continues to incarnate in us; the waiting in darkness is over;
- Epiphany: The Good News of God’s Love and Dream for humanity is for the whole world;
- Ordinary Time after Christmas: A chance to reflect on the Life and ministry of Jesus;
- Lent: A time of penance and reflection on the ongoing brokenness of our lives and of the world despite God’s Presence;
- Good Friday: A reflection on the loss of life and real death; remembering that we too are called to a costly discipleship.
- Easter Sunday: The celebration of the reception of new life; reminding ourselves that death is not the end.
- The Forty Days: A time for readjustment to the new and for grieving the old; a time to remind ourselves of the powerful events of the early months and years of the Church
- Ascension: Letting go of the old and letting it bless you, the refusal to cling;
- Pentecost: The reception of new spirit for the new life that one is already living;
- Ordinary Time: Celebrating the life of the people of God filled with a new Spirit;
- Ordinary Time:Season of Creation: Within Ordinary time, a series of Sundays focussing on creation
- Christ the King: Closing the Liturgical Year with a celebration of the Cosmic Christ.
If this practice interests you, there are numerous websites on the Liturgical Year. A few useful resources include this on the Liturgical year from the Christian Resource Institute .