Epistle Article November 24, 2013

Yesterday I drove into a small Oklahoma town with a banner over the main road that read, “Seasons Greetings!”  It occurred to me that we are in a special time of the year in which holiday greetings seem to follow one after another: Happy Halloween; Happy Thanksgiving; Merry Christmas; Happy New Year!

Sometimes I wish the holidays were spread over the calendar more evenly, but I know that the Christian calendar also tends to tightly group the seasons together.  Speaking of the Christian calendar, some people are surprised to learn that we keep time differently as a people of faith.  For instance the Christian year begins with Advent (Latin for “coming”) which is the season of four Sundays that begins the Sunday following Thanksgiving and ends on December 24.  This way we can reflect on the coming of Christ.  Obviously, Christmas day begins the seasons of Christmas and Epiphany (Greek for “appearance”).  Lent comes next.  Lent can be a very important time of year as we spend forty days preparing for Easter.  Easter is the celebration of the resurrection of Christ and is spread over several weeks.  Next comes the longest season of the year known as Pentecost, which we are just leaving.  This is the time that the people of God focus on being the Church, the Body of Christ.  Before each season there is a transitional Sunday that ushers us to a place where we can appreciate the events to come.

Along the way we also celebrate secular holidays like Memorial Day and Independence Day.  But, because we are Christians, we place the most emphasis on the yearly cycle that most closely patterns itself on the life of Christ Jesus.

My season’s greeting to you is that this Christian year will bring God’s

Grace and Peace,