I grew up in the church, but up until five or six years ago I knew nothing about the Christian Calendar.
My background did not include observances such as Advent and Lent. To me these had been “words” that appeared on the signs of other churches. I knew what time of year I would see them as I drove by — Nothing more. These words belonged to their church culture, not mine.
Then a few years ago my husband and I heard a radio interview with Bobby Gross, author of Living the Christian Year: Time to Inhabit the Story of God. We sat riveted. This was new to us!!
Since the time of that interview, we have observed and celebrated each new Christian Year.
Never in the same way. Always different.
To observe it in exactly the same way each year would run the risk of its becoming mechanical and meaningless.
Giving ourselves permission to celebrate it differently each year allows us to adjust our observances to our “season of life” and keeps things fresh.
If you, like me, grew up in a church culture that did not include the Christian Calendar, I would like to share 10 reasons to celebrate it as a spiritual practice.
10 Reasons to Celebrate the Christian Calendar as a Spiritual Practice
Observing the Christian Calendar helps to bring us into the drama of God’s story of redemption. We live inside a big, big story – the Story of God as centered in Christ Jesus. It is a story much grander than our own. It started long before our birth and will go on long after our death.
Celebrating the Christian Year is an effective spiritual formation strategy. While our celebration helps us inhabit the still-unfolding Story of God, it also allows God’s Story to inhabit and change us.
It helps us remember who God is and how He works.
Observing the Christian Calendar helps us look forward.
Celebrating the Christian Year rekindles our love for God and helps to increase our knowledge of Him.
Establishing and observing traditions for observing the Christian Calendar helps move us toward singularity of heart and purpose. Christ is to be our singular focus.
It provides clarity and perspective.
Observing the Christian Calendar Year helps to connect us with other believers – across time, space, and denomination.
Celebrating the Christian Year is a wonderful tool for teaching others about our God.
Our lives are shaped as we live inside this story that is as far-reaching as the universe and as old as eternity.
The Christian Calendar runs from November to November, beginning each year with Advent.
If you find the Calendar’s observance compelling but like me find yourself in uncharted territory, I would like to provide some resources to help get you started.
Remember: It is okay to start small. The overwhelm that can be created by taking on too much is a sure way to kill your observance before it begins.
Resources for Observing the Christian Year
The Christian Calendar Year Cheat Sheet – A 2-page chart containing the important elements of the Christian Calendar Year. Great for those who are new to this topic or who prefer information presented in an easy-to-read chart form.
The Christian Calendar Plan – A brief description of the Christian Calendar along with suggestions for ways to observe the seasons.
The Christian Calendar Year Planning Form – Use this form to plan your observance of the seasons of the Christian Calendar year.
Is this new to you? What will be your first steps in Observing the Christian Calendar this coming year? Please share one or two thoughts in the comments below.
soli deo gloria,