Following the Church Year
"Every year we cycle through the seasons from Advent through the Season after Pentecost, and with every repetition their meaning becomes more textured--richer, deeper, more subtle and complex. Sometimes a particular season will stand out for us in a given year and its message will take on fresh significance, well we will speed through another almost without noticing its passing. The repetition is the key to their gift of grace in our lives. Like the spirograph layers of single ellipses combining to form intricate spirals, the cycle of repeating and overlapping cycles of the feasts and fasts of the church year create patterns of meaning in our lives, giving shape and direction to the events that mark our days.
Repeating the cycle of the seasons makes us aware of the passing of time. Most of us have had this experience with family holidays, or occasions such as high school or college reunions. As we decorate the Christmas tree or open gifts, we notice our children have grown: as we gather around the Thanksgiving table, we are aware that our aging parents or grandparents— and we ourselves—have changed during the previous year.
We are also reminded of who we are, as we gather with family and friends and Mark traditions that are part of our identity within the larger community. If the year has had difficult moments, we are perhaps a bit wiser and more sober than the year before, and also more aware of our dependence on God’s merciful grace. If the year has been filled with joyful occasions and gifts of new life, we may find gratitude welling up as we sing familiar songs or tell a family story. For Christians, keeping the church year likewise becomes a means of grace in our lives: the repetition of the cycle of feasts and fasts teaches us who we are as followers of Christ and beloved children of God.”
From the book, Welcome to the Church Year: An Introduction to the Seasons of the Episcopal Church by Vicki K. Black
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