At THE LIFE, we follow the traditional Liturgical Calendar of the Church Year. This means that we progress through the seasons each year marking the life and ministry of Jesus Christ, from birth to death and resurrection.
Each season has its own color and theme, and each year we explore together God’s gift of salvation through Jesus Christ in our lives and in the world. Below, you will find some brief descriptions of the Church Year, as well as some information on the unique traditions we have developed at THE LIFE to mark our common journey of faith.
Advent: 4 weeks, beginning the first Sunday after Thanksgiving
Nov-Dec The color for Advent is blue
The Church’s Liturgical Year begins with Advent, which is the four weeks before Christmas, and ends on Christmas Eve. Advent focuses on preparation for the coming of Christ: not only the coming of the Christ-child at Christmas, but also Jesus’ return, making Advent a time for devout and joyful expectation.
A traditional symbol of the Advent Season is a ring of evergreen branches adorned with four candles. The circle and evergreen of the wreath symbolize the everlasting nature of God, who has no beginning or end. At THE LIFE, we hang a large Advent Wreath in the sanctuary, and light the four candles as we progress through the season. The main symbolism of the advent wreath marks the progression of time, and we attach themes to each candle: hope, faith, joy, and love.
We use those same themes when making our Advent Boxes, which many of us use as a fun family devotional item in our homes. (Click Here to learn about our annual Advent Box making event.)
Early in December, we hold our annual Christmas Tree Lighting Celebration, using the large Norwegian Spruce in our courtyard to alert the neighborhood that we’re expecting a Baby. Be sure to join us for this festive evening of food, music, celebration, and a big guy in a red suit. (Click Here to learn more about our annual Christmas Tree Lighting.)
Christmas Season: 12 days, beginning on December 25th
Dec-Jan The color for Christmas is white
The Christmas season immediately follows Advent. The traditional Twelve Days of Christmas begin with Christmas Eve on the evening of December 24, when we celebrate with a beautiful candlelight service, and Christmas Day when we continue singing and celebrating Christ’s birth. The 12 Days come to a close on the Feast of Epiphany at THE LIFE Church (January 6th), when we have our dramatic “Burning of the Greens,” which is just as awesome as it sounds! (Click Here to learn more about the Burning of the Greens.)
Time After Epiphany: Varies, based on the date of Easter
Jan-Feb/Mar The color for Epiphany is green
The season of Epiphany lasts from January 6th until Ash Wednesday. The main focus in the scripture readings during Epiphany turns to Christ's earthly ministry, rather than any one particular event. The season mainly emphasizes Christ's preaching and ministry, with many of His parables read as the Gospel readings.
Lent: 40 days, not counting Sundays
Mar/Apr The color for Lent is purple
Lent is a season of self-reflection in preparation for Easter. It begins on Ash Wednesday and lasts for forty days (the six Sundays within the season are not counted). During this period of the Church year, THE LIFE offers some type of meditative service every night (except for Thursdays).
It is customary to refrain from using the joyful expression, “Alleluia” during Lent. We also omit the celebratory Song of Praise from the worship service to set this time apart.
The week before Easter is called Holy Week, and begins with Palm Sunday, when we have a small parade to celebrate Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem.
Easter Triduum: 3 days, from Thursday to Saturday evening
Mar/Apr The color for Holy Week is red, turning to white for Easter
The Easter Triduum consists of Good Friday, Holy Saturday (or Easter Vigil), and Easter Sunday.
The Triduum starts on the evening before Good Friday called Maundy Thursday. On that evening, here at THE LIFE, we stage our dramatic production of The Living DaVinci, where the disciples of Jesus each take their place at the table around him, until the painting itself is recreated before your eyes.
During the day of Good Friday, we walk the Stations of the Cross, followed by an evening Tenebrae Service of darkness.
On Holy Saturday at The LIFE, we have an afternoon First Communion service for the young people who have spent time preparing for the event and, after sundown, at the Easter Vigil we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. This powerful service begins in darkness, with the first lighting of the Christ Candle, then proceeds through several readings by candlelight, telling the story of God’s people. The service continues with the room fully lit, the return of the Alleluia, and the celebration of Holy Communion together.
Easter Season: 50 Days of Celebration!
Mar/Apr/May The color for Easter is white
In the Easter season, we celebrate Jesus' victory over death. The date of Easter varies from year to year, according to a lunar-calendar dating system. The Easter season extends from the Easter Vigil through Pentecost Sunday.
Ascension Thursday, which marks the return of Jesus to heaven following His resurrection, is the fortieth day of the Easter season.
Pentecost is the fiftieth and last day of the Easter season. It celebrates the sending of the Holy Spirit to the Apostles, which traditionally marks the birth of the Church. The color for Pentecost itself is red.
Time after Pentecost: Varies in length, but ends in late November
Apr-Nov The color for “after Pentecost” is green
This season comes after Pentecost, with the weeks numbered according to how many weeks since Pentecost has happened that year.
In the final few weeks, we direct our attention to the coming of the Kingdom of God. And in this way, we end the church year with the same themes we used in Advent, the beginning of the church year.
And then . . .