Detail of “Advent and the Triumph of Christ,” a painting by Hans Memling, A.D. 1480, which depicts the Life of Christ and the journey through the Church Year,
from Advent to Christmas, from Lent to Easter and Pentecost.
Welcome to Advent Lesson Two!
Advent Lessons are for anyone who truly desires to “reclaim Advent.” The lessons are on-line and there is no fee or tuition! I ask only that you read all the entries, in sequential order.
In Advent Lesson One, we learned that the purpose of the Church Calendar is for God’s people to collectively rehearse and reenact the Grand Drama of Redemption. Today I will provide some practical tips to assist you, in preparing for the Season of Advent.
Please get out a sheet of three-ring college-ruled paper. Grab a ruler and a black Sharpie pen. Draw a “box,” to highlight the margins of the sheet, left, right, top, and bottom. Inside the box, write the words: “The Gift of the Season of Advent.” Label the margins, “Everything Else.” Post this sheet on your refrigerator or bulletin board.
You have just taken the first step in “reclaiming Advent.” To properly approach the Season of Advent, we must first view it as a gift which we receive: It is a treasure, so cherish it, anticipate it, and be thankful!
Please do not view the Season of Advent as yet another “thing” to add to your already-full schedule. This is the year to receive the gift so — prepare to open a window or door to a means of grace!
Are you ready for that “breath of fresh air?” OK, from the list below, add the following dates onto your personal or family calendar: The Season of Advent, the Season of Christmas, and the Season of Epiphany: Those are the first three “Acts” in the our corporate reenactment of the Grand Drama of Redemption. [I have included the entire Church Year, so that you can see it in context.]
I imagine that some of you dear friends are hesitant to continue with the Advent Lessons: “I just do not have time; maybe next year,” I can hear you saying. Hmmm . . . may I remind you of the Mystery of Faith?
“Christ has died; Christ is risen; Christ will come again.”
The Mystery of Faith is the irreducible minimum of what Christians believe, of what we corporately believe. Implied in the Mystery of Faith is the historical fact that Christ has come! God with us, Emmanuel, the Incarnate God, the Messiah, the Redeemer, the Savior, the Deliverer has invaded both time and space!
The Mystery of Faith: Christ has done all of this for us and yet we “just do not have the time” to observe the Season of Advent?
“He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him graciously give us all things?” [Romans 8.32, NEV]
All time rightfully belongs to the Triune God. It is one of the “good things” that He graciously gives to us. This year, receive the gift of time. Receive the gift of grace.
The Church Year 2012
These are the major dates of the Christian Church Year for 2011 – 2012, beginning with Advent in 2011.
The Season of Advent (November 27- December 24, 2011)
First Sunday of Advent: November 27, 2011
Second Sunday of Advent: December 4
Third Sunday of Advent: December 11
Fourth Sunday of Advent: December 18
The Season of Christmas (December 25, 2011 – January 5, 2012)
Christmas Day: December 25, 2011
First Sunday of Christmas: December 25, 2011
Second Sunday of Christmas: January 1, 2012
The Season of Epiphany (January 6 – February 21, 2012)
Epiphany: January 6
Baptism of Our Lord: January 8
Transfiguration (Last Sunday in Epiphany): February 19
The Season of Lent (February 25 – April 11, 2012)
Ash Wednesday: February 22
First Sunday in Lent: February 26
Holy Week (April 1 – April 7 , 2012, including Palm/Passion Sunday)
Palm/Passion Sunday: April 1
Maundy Thursday: April 5
Good Friday: April 6
Holy Saturday: April 7
The Season of Easter (April 8 – May 27, 2012, including Pentecost)
Easter Sunday: April 8
Ascension: May 17
Pentecost: May 27
Ordinary Time/Season After Pentecost (May 28 -December 1, 2012)
Trinity Sunday: June 3 (some traditions include with Pentecost)
All Saints Day: November 1
Christ the King: November 25