THE CHRISTIAN YEAR: Liturgical Seasons/Colors; Lectionary Scripture Themes

The Liturgical Year/ The Christian Year : 2016-2017 

ADVENT: (Purple or Blue) December 4, 11, 18, 25, 2016 Advent is a season of four weeks including four Sundays.  Advent derives from the Latin word, adventus, which means 'coming.'   The coming of Christ is proclaimed: the prophecy, meaning and significance of his birth is witnessed to by the faith community.  Historically, this season was marked by 'fasting' and prayerful meditation in spiritual preparation to honor and receive God's gift of grace- Jesus.    Each Sunday has a distinct theme:

         *   1st Sunday- Christ's coming in victory;

CHRISTMAS: (White or Gold)  December 25, 2016 - January 01, 2017   Christmas is a season of praise and thanksgiving for the incarnation of God in Jesus Christ.  This season begins on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day and continues through the Day of Epiphany (January 6), the day celebrated by the Wise Men who came seeking a king.  Christmas comes from the season's first worship, Christ Mass. And Epiphany comes from the Greek word, epiphania, which means 'manifestation'. 

EPIPHANY: White on 1st and last Sundays; Green on other Sundays)  January 06, 2017 - Epiphany of the Lord; 8 (Baptism of the Lord), 15 (Human Relations Day), 22, 29; February 5, 12(Boy Scout Sunday), 19, 26 (Transfiguration) Epiphany is a season of ordinary time, usually including 4-9 Sundays, depending upon Easter Sunday.  It has no central theme, but the First Sunday focuses on the Baptism of Jesus and the last Sunday on the Transfiguration of Christ.  Scriptural themes focus on the early ministry of Jesus. 

LENT: Ashen grey for Ash Wednesday and purple for Lent. March 01, 2017 - ASH WEDNESDAY and begins the Season of Lent.  The First Sunday of Lent is March 05, 2017; 12th (Girl Scout Sunday); 19; 26 (One Great Hour of Sharing); April 02; April 09 (Palm/Passion Sunday); April 13 (Holy Thursday / Maundy Thursday)

Lent is a season of 40 days, not counting Sundays, which begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Saturday.  Lent comes from the Anglo-Saxon. word, lencten, which means 'spring.  Lent is a time of preparation for celebrating Easter.  Historically, it was a time of fasting and preparing converts for Baptism.The 1st Sunday describes Jesus' temptation by satan and the 6th Sunday (Palm/Passion Sunday) is Christ's entrance into Jerusalem.  Holy Week is the culminating week of Holy Thursday (April 13-Last Supper) or Maundy Thursday which signifies the servanthood of Christ in washing the feet of the disciples.and Good Friday (April 14-Crucifixion) which precedes Easter.  

EASTER: (White or Gold) April 16, 2017; April 23; 30 (Native American Awareness Sunday); May 7; 14 (Festival of the Christian Home / Mother's Day); 21 (Heritage Sunday); 25 (Ascension Sunday), 28; June 4 Pentecost - Red. Easter is known as the Great 50 Days, beginning at sunset on Easter Eve and continues through the Day of Pentecost (May 27th).  Easter is the most joyous and celebrative season of the Christian year.  The focus is on Christ's resurrection and ascension.  Baptisms, confirmations and congregational reaffirmations are common expressions of faith and faithfulness for Christian disciples. 

PENTECOST: (Red or Green) ; 11 (Trinity Sunday),18 (Father's Day), 25; July 02-November 01, (All Saints Day) - November 20 (Reign of Christ-White or Gold); 27 This is a season of ordinary time which begins the day after Pentecost and ends the day before the First Sunday of Advent.  It may include between 23 and 28 Sundays, depending upon the date of Easter, but the First Sunday of Pentecost is always Trinity Sunday.  United Methodists have the option of calling this season Kingdomtide due to our historical use of the term.