10 Compelling Reasons to Observe the Christian Calendar

In answer to the question, “Why observe the Christian Calendar?” –10 compelling reasons!

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Deborah Haddix

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I grew up in the church, but until just a few years ago, I knew absolutely 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. 

Since the time of that interview, we have observed and celebrated each new Christian Year.

Never in the same way.  Always different.

There is a part of me that fears its observance 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.

As we sit ready to turn the page to a fresh, new Christian Calendar year — whether you, like me, grew up in a church culture completely devoid of its observance or in one steeped in its traditions – I would like to share 10 compelling reasons we’ve found for celebrating the Christian Calendar as a spiritual practice.

10 Compelling Reasons to Celebrate the Christian Calendar as a Spiritual Practice

1. Observing the Christian Calendar helps to move us into the drama of God’s story of redemption. This beautiful story, started long before our birth and continuing long after our death, is a story much grander than our own. But we tend to fix our eyes on our own story, the things that are right in front of us – children, laundry, meals, work. Celebrating the Christian Calendar serves as a reminder that we live inside a big, big story – the Story of God as centered in Christ Jesus. 

2. The practice of Celebrating the Christian Year is an effective spiritual formation strategy. Our celebration of the cycles and seasons of the Calendar help us inhabit the still-unfolding Story of God. Conversely, it also allows God’s Story to inhabit us and bring about change.

3. It helps us remember who God is and how He works.

4. Observing the Christian Calendar helps us look forward with hopeful anticipation.

5. Celebrating the Christian Year rekindles our love for God and helps to increase our knowledge of Him.

6. Establishing and observing traditions for observing the Christian Calendar helps move us toward singularity of heart and purpose – Christ our all in all.

7. In a world where wrong can often seem right, it helps to provide biblical clarity and perspective.

8. Observing the Christian Calendar helps to connect us with other believers – across time, space, and denomination.

9. Celebrating the Christian Year is a wonderful tool for teaching others about our God.

10. Our lives are shaped as we live inside this story that is as far-reaching as the universe and as old as eternity.

Entering a New Christian Calendar Year

The Christian Calendar runs from November to November, beginning each year with Advent and the Cycle of Light.

If you find the Calendar’s observance compelling but like me find yourself in uncharted territory, below are some helpful resources for getting 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 Cycle of Light

A brand new tool to help in your observance of this first Cycle of the Christian calendar. This 15-page booklet provides some basics on the Cycle. In addition, it lists various ideas for observing the seasons of Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany; a planning guide; and additional resources.

Click HERE to download your free PDF.

The Cycle of Life

This 11-page booklet is a helpful tool in observing the second cycle of the Christian Calendar. Along with some basics on the Cycle, the booklet includes various ideas for observing the seasons of Lent, the Paschal Triduum, and Easter; a planning guide; and additional resources.

Click HERE to download your free PDF.

The Cycle of Love

A tool to help in your observance of the final Cycle of the Christian calendar. This brief (9 page) booklet provides some basics on the Cycle. In addition, it lists various ideas for observing the seasons of Ordinary Time and Pentecost, a planning guide, and additional resources.

Click HERE to download your free PDF.

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.

Comments

2 comments

  • My church was not one that observed the Christian calendar so I really wasn’t even aware there was one as I was growing up. ha. But I loosely observe it now on my own, and I agree that it does have beautiful purpose to it! Thanks for sharing this, Deborah.

  • Deborah, thanks for this fresh insight on the Christian calendar. We’ve never really observed it or practiced it. I love how you tied many of the reasons into God’s story and how we can participate in His story. And especially resonated with number 7. “In a world where wrong can often seem right, it helps to provide biblical clarity and perspective.”

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About the Author

Deborah Haddix

I am a child of God, wife, mom, grandma, daughter, sister, niece, and friend who loves nothing better than spending time with those I love.

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