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The Christian Year Excerpt


An excerpt from the Companion to the Book of Common Worship (Geneva Press, 2003, 84-86; chart is expanded and revised)

The liturgical calendar gives us a glimpse of the way God’s time breaks into our time. … While the whole gospel is celebrated on each Lord’s Day, it is not surprising that early Christians found meaning in celebrating particular days that centered on a major event or aspect of the saving story. Gradually an annual calendar emerged. By the fourth century its major features were in place. That basic shape remains today.

The Christmas (Incarnation) Cycle

  • Four weeks of Advent
  • The Nativity of the Lord (Dec. 25; begins Christmas)
  • Twelve days of Christmas (including one or two Sundays)
  • The Epiphany of the Lord (Jan. 6; concludes Christmas)

Time after Epiphany

  • The Baptism of the Lord
  • Four to Nine Sundays after Epiphany
  • Transfiguration of the Lord

The Easter (Resurrection) Cycle

  • Ash Wednesday (begins Lent)
  • Forty Days (excluding Sundays) of Lent
  • Passion/Palm Sunday (begins Holy Week)

The Three Days (Triduum)

  • Maundy Thursday
  • Good Friday
  • Saturday of Holy Week (concludes Lent)
  • The Great Vigil of Easter (begins Easter)

The Resurrection of the Lord (Easter Sunday)

  • Fifty Days of Easter
  • The Ascension of the Lord (sixth Thursday in Easter; forty days after Easter Sunday)
  • The Day of Pentecost (concludes Easter)

Time after Pentecost

  • Trinity Sunday
  • Twenty-Three to Twenty-Eight Sundays after Pentecost
  • All Saints’ Day (Nov. 1)
  • Christ the King / Reign of Christ