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The Christian (or Church) Year

Different colours of the Christian year

Different parts of the Christian faith are celebrated during the twelve months of the year. The seasons of the Christian Year are Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent and Easter. The rest of the year is referred to as ‘Ordinary Time’ as there are no other special seasons to celebrate. The Christian (or Church) Year also consists of Saints Days, Festival and Holy Days. These seasons and days make up the Christian (or Church) Calendar. Some festivals, like Christmas Day, happen on the same date every year, while others, like Easter, do not. 

The Christmas windowThe seasons in the Christian Year follow the life of Jesus a bit like a story.
 The story actually begins in Advent, at the very end of November, when we prepare for the birth of Jesus.
 This is followed by Christmas when Jesus was born. 
 Epiphany follows when the Wise Men (or kings, or Magi) came to visit Jesus.
 After Epiphany we carry on following his life through to the preparation for his passion (suffering) in Lent and death on the cross in Holy Week.
 We then learn about his resurrection from the dead at Easter.
His resurrection is followed by his Ascension into Heaven.
 The Christian Year then looks at how the Church came about and developed, with the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.
 Lastly we learn about the Trinity, and we then concentrate on learning more about our faith.

In addition to the above special days, there are others which we celebrate at St James's:
 Candlemas 
 St James's Day 
 Harvest Festival 
 All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day
 Remembrance Sunday

The church uses different colours at these different times: white and gold for the light, joy, and purity of Christ, Mary and the saints; red for the blood and fire of the Holy Spirit, martyrs and the Cross; purple or blue for penitence and preparation for Advent and Lent; green for hope and the creation, and at all the other times of the year.

These colours can be seen in the church in the altar frontal, the pulpit fall and bible book marks. They can also be seen in the outer vestment, or chasuble, and the embroidered scarf, or stole, of the priest. See how different colours are used at St James's at different times of the year on the page Colours of the Christian Year.