Dear Christ Church,
One of the gifts of the Great Tradition is the Church Calendar. Christians tell time a little differently than the rest of society. We mark time every year by re-telling the story of how God rescues his people. Advent and Epiphany, Eastertide and Lent, these become anchors that share the story of how God rescues us. I love how this short 3 minute video gives an overview of the Christian story told through time.
So why do Christians keep this calendar?
Well, quite simply, we want all of our lives to be marked by the story of God. Keeping pace with the Church calendar becomes a deeply formative process, and one that families, small groups, and whole communities can participate in together. Lauren Winner writes that when we follow the Christian calendar, we become formed to not only know the story of God, but somehow, mysteriously, to be formed by it. For instance each season has its own spiritual rhythms like longing (Advent), evangelism (Epiphany), repentance (Lent), joy (Easter), and so on.
She goes on to write that beyond formation, living by the calendar is also evangelistic. “Quite simply…if you really live into a season of Easter that lasts long after the Peeps are gone from the grocery store shelves, you will be doing something so countercultural that it will not escape the notice of your friends and neighbors–and they will ask you why you are doing the things you are doing–and you will have a chance to tell them something about Jesus.”
This Sunday is Christ the King Sunday and it marks the last day in the Christian calendar year. This is a Christian’s “December 31st.” The following week, the calendar begins anew with Advent, that season of longing and waiting for Jesus to come a second time, our Once and Future King.
During this transition of the church year, notice that our year begins longing for our King and ends by declaring, “Truly, in the midst of all that I face in life, He is King.”