Feature Article: Learning More About the Christian Calendar

by | Oct 27, 2021 | Featured Article | 0 comments

The Christian calendar has three major festivals- Advent, Lent, Easter, and several Holy Days.

Christians all over the world observe many festivals and holy days. However, the Christian calendar is mainly divided into three main festivals. They are all events that cover the life and mystery of Jesus Christ- Advent, Lent, and Easter. 

The Advent season covers the events leading to his birth and usually ends on Christmas Eve.

The season of Advent begins at the very end of November. Derived from the Latin word ‘Adventus,’ Advent means “arrival.” It is a period of waiting and preparing for the coming and birth of baby Jesus in Bethlehem. It is the start of the Christian calendar and covers four weeks. In some Christian countries, Advent signals preparation for the Christmas season. During this period, the clergy typically wears purple or royal blue. 

In some cultures, the Advent Wreath is presented along with the four candles symbolizing the four Advent Sundays. The four candles also mean Hope, Peace, Love, and Joy. A fifth candle placed at the center is lit during Christmas, symbolizing the birth of Jesus Christ.

After the season of Advent, the calendar then moves through his life story to two other Christian seasons- Lent and Easter.

The Lent Season is one of the most important festivals in the Christian calendar, a 40-day observance leading to Easter.

Lent Season is a time of deep reflection, recollection, and fasting. The highlight of this calendar period is the Holy Week which calls all Christians to remember the passion and death of Jesus Christ. Jesus was crucified and died on a Good Friday.

Lent Season covers forty days. It is also when Christians remember Jesus’s time in the desert without food while tempted by the Devil (40 days and nights).

Lent begins with Ash Wednesday and lasts for six and a half weeks. Christians worldwide have their foreheads marked with the sign of the cross with ashes. Then it moves to the last week of Lent, beginning with Palm Sunday, commemorating Jesus’ entry to Jerusalem, and ending with Black Saturday, a day after Jesus’s death and a day before Easter.

Unlike Christmas, Lent is a movable feast, and the date changes yearly.

Easter, which celebrates the resurrection of Christ, is as important as Lent and should not be viewed as just a part of the Lent Season.

Easter is an entire season highlighting Jesus’ resurrection from the dead and subsequent appearances leading to his ascension in heaven. The calendar moves on to the founding of the Church itself, with the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. It also covers a period of teaching and consolidation of the faith during the weeks of Trinity.

Some scholars and history teachers, like Frank Heelan, firmly believe Easter should be given equal reverence as the passion and death of Christ as it highlights Jesus’s promise that we also will rise from the dead and receive a resurrected body “like angels.” The Resurrection of Jesus Christ book by Heelan, Stations of the Risen Christ: Ressurection Meditations, features fourteen vignettes from the Gospel writings of John, Luke, and Matthew. A brief meditation follows the fourteen Scripture readings to motivate Christians to pray and better understand these divine mysteries.

You can visit his website anytime to learn more about Frank Heelan’s book and other works. You can also grab a copy of Stations of the Risen Christ: Ressurection Meditations via Amazon and Barnes&Noble.


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