The snow is melting. I can feel the warmth of the sun when it shines. Winter will soon be over and I feel the glimmer of anticipation for open windows, green grass, flowers, and long days spent outside.
The hardness of my Winter’s heart is melting. I can feel the warmth of the Son when He shines. Lent will soon be over and I feel the glimmer of anticipation for open tombs, hope for a new tomorrow, and long days spent celebrating a resurrected Savior!
It amazes me how the Church calendar was set up to help us live the seasons that God created. I don’t know if I would have truly understood that if I still lived in a place where seasons were hard to discern, but Winnipeg has all four (even if a few are short-lived) and it’s so easy to feel the changing of the season and the calendar.
We tend to live seasonally, even if we don’t recognize it. We decorate our homes with flowers and color in the Spring. We keep beach towels at the ready and popsicles frozen in the Summer. We dive headfirst into everything pumpkin spice in the Fall. We wrap ourselves in fuzzy blankets and eat warm bowls of soup in the Winter.
It gives rhythm to our days and comfort to our souls to live into the seasons.
We don’t have to wait for the changing of the weather or national holidays to do the same in our spiritual lives. I grew up in a denomination that didn’t observe the Church calendar and so I was an adult before I realized that I didn’t have to wait for Easter or Christmas to celebrate Jesus festively - I could do it all year round.
The Church calendar (also known as the Liturgical calendar) doesn’t begin in January, it begins with Advent. How beautiful is that? Our year begins with anticipation and longing for the fulfillment of the promise of a Saviour come to Earth.
Then - Christmas! Not just one day, but 12 days to celebrate our newborn King!
Epiphany comes next where we live out the story of the wise men searching for Jesus and look deep into our own souls to see if we are doing the same.
Lent leads us into a time of fasting, mourning, and praying with thoughts of our own mortality. This was something new to me, as I generally avoided thoughts of my own mortality. It shouldn’t be avoided. Facing our mortality adds flavour to the mundane and helps us find joy in the everyday. From dust, we came, and to dust, we return. We are a small but vital part of a much larger story—a story that began long before we were born and will continue long after we die.
Easter! Up from the grave, He arose! The grave could not hold The King! He is risen indeed! Easter is the most important part of the calendar—the pinnacle of Christianity. Without the resurrection, our faith would be in vain. Without Easter, we would have no hope. Everything hinges on Easter. And in the Church year, we get to celebrate Easter for 50 days! Why 50? What’s at the end of 50 days?
Pentecost! We celebrate our resurrected Saviour right up until he ascends into heaven and then pours out his Holy Spirit on our lives so that we never have to be without Him.
We then live in “Ordinary Time” where we live our day-to-day lives in the knowledge of being filled with the Holy Spirit and living out the gifts and calling that comes with being a follower of Jesus.
And then we begin again with Advent.
Do you see it? The beautiful rhythm of living life with Jesus?
In good years and bad, we live The Story.
In times of plenty and in times of want, we live The Story.
We don’t need the Church calendar to live this story. It’s a man-made tool, nothing divine. But sometimes we need tools to help guide us, and that’s what the calendar is there for.
It’s a gift. The pressure is off. We don’t have to be innovative. We don’t have to crush the Christmas story every year by doing something more spectacular than we did last year. We simply step into the stream and let the current of the calendar carry us through every season. In submitting to this sacred rhythm we find peace and purpose.
This year, above all others, I’ve been in need of the seasons. In need of this tool; this gift. In need of anything to help me put one foot in front of the other in my life with Jesus. You can join me in stepping out of the chaos and into the stream of the Church calendar. Let the current carry you along. Surrender to the stream and sense the momentum that is thousands of years in the making.
Thank you, Father, for the gift of seasons. Both in nature, in the church, and in our hearts.
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