The first Sunday in Advent also is the first Sunday of the church calendar, the new year of our church. Depending on your tradition, you’ll notice scriptures, colors, and traditions that follow the liturgical new year.
A few years ago, I led a congregation in learning more about the church year. Working with the faith formation and worship committee, we created a mini wreath for each church attendee with pony beads to help them notice the colors of the church year. The mini circle had 13 colors on it. These represented the 13 major colors of that church’s liturgical tradition. We called the circle: the liturgical circle of color.
The mini circle of color consisted of one pony bead to represent each of the church’s season (in order):
These colors appear in the paraments (the cloths hanging from the pulpit and the altar). Sometimes the pastor’s stole color also matches the color of the church season.
Each Christian tradition, however, uses a unique set of colors during the liturgical year. For example, some traditions use purple for Advent. Others use crimson for Holy Week, which is a darker red than what’s used during Pentecost. Find out which colors your tradition uses.
Liturgical traditions also use a set of scriptures each church year from the Revised Common Lectionary. The Revised Common Lectionary follows a three-year cycle of Year A, B, and C.
When we distributed the circle of color to people in church, we encouraged them to consider using it in a variety of ways:
As the church enters the season of Advent, it’s also the season of the liturgical new year. Happy New (Liturgical) Year!
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