The Sacred Calendar
This devotional was written by Kelly McFadden
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven. —Ecclesiastes 3:1
As we begin a new year in a few days, it’s likely you will think about the calendar. If you haven’t gotten a new calendar for 2016 yet, you’ll probably pick one up in the coming days. Calendars are important. If you have kids, much of your life is scheduled by the school calendar: winter break, spring break and summer. If you are in business, your year may be governed by a fiscal calendar. And you can always count on Hallmark to help you keep track of holidays on the calendar…how else would you know when to buy your sweetheart a valentine?!
A Christian calendar also exists to help the people of God prepare for each season. The four weeks before Christmas are known as Advent. This is a preparation time for celebrating the birth of Jesus. December 25 is then the start of the twelve days of Christmas (not simply a holiday song!). This time is for the remembrance of the birth of Jesus, when God became man and dwelled among us.
After the twelve days of Christmas until the beginning of Lent is Epiphany. It is a time for celebrating the worldwide influence of the Christian faith. Its biblical basis comes from the three wise men that traveled from a distant land to honor the newborn child. It is a time to reveal Jesus to the world.
Next comes Lent. During this time, many Christians fast as an imitation of Jesus spending 40 days in the wilderness. It is a time of self-examination, self-control, and spiritual devotion. This takes us right into Holy Week, the week between Palm Sunday and Easter. These days are set aside to observe the life of Jesus as He entered into Jerusalem before His crucifixion.
Easter follows. This is when the Church recognizes the resurrection of Jesus and the offer of eternal life for those who believe. After Easter, comes the time of Pentecost. This is a time of thanksgiving and challenge for people to accept a new life in Christ. This lasts for fifty days and then is followed by Kingdom time, which lasts until Advent and is a time of celebration for the family of God and its growth.
As you enter into this New Year, be mindful of the Sacred Calendar. Its flow helps us to reflect on our faith. There is a time for everything, a time to celebrate, remember, mourn, and sacrifice.
1. How could understanding the flow of the Christian calendar be helpful to you and your family?
2. What calendar controls your life? What do you need to do in order to make parts of the Sacred Calendar a part of your life?
Matthew 2:1-11 & 4:1-11; Luke 22:19-29