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He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end! – Ecclesiastes 3:11
The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps! – Proverbs 16:9
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heave! – Ecclesiastes 3:1

THE CHURCH YEAR

Like creation itself, the ancient church has long observed the passage of time through various sacred seasons. God, after all, established an order for the passage of time by creating a pattern for days, weeks, seasons and years. This patterned order of time has also been observed by various rituals among people over the centuries as well. Some rituals are daily like meals, work, prayer and rest. Others are weekly like worship, sporting events or weekends off. And still others are yearly such as birthdays, anniversaries and holidays.

It is clear from the Bible that God desires his people observe the passage of our limited time within the context of Jesus’ saving work through time. This is evident in how God commanded Ancient Israel to observe daily temple worship, weekly Sabbath rest and annual sacred festivals. Observances such as these helped the people of Israel understand their daily lives in light of the eternal significance of God’s creative and saving acts in time.

The ancient church continued to observe the passage of time through the seasons of the Church Year which helps us to view our daily lives constantly in light of God’s most powerful saving act of all; namely, the incarnation, life, suffering, death, resurrection and return of Jesus Christ. This annual pattern highlights for us the continual proclamation of the saving work of Jesus for all people and includes seasons that begin with Advent and continue through Christmas, Lent, Easter and more.

The purpose of the Church Year is intended to highlight the life of Jesus; His past and future work along with His current work in the life of the church. Nothing is more important to the life of the church than the life of Jesus. The ancient practice of following the Church Year testifies that the historical events in Jesus’ life continue to proclaim His salvation for us today!

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel! – Isaiah 7:14
A voice cries: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God”! – Isaiah 40:3
When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son! – Hosea 11:1

ADVENT

Advent, which begins the observance of the Church Year, occurs from the Latin word for “coming,” and as such, describes the “coming” of Jesus into this world. Jesus’ coming reveals itself among us in three  distinct ways — as we remember His coming in the past at Christmas, presently in our daily lives through His Word, Baptism and Supper, and at His future return on the last day. During Advent, followers of Jesus remember that He has come and conquered sin at the cross, continues to work in our lives daily and will return for the fulfillment of His redeeming act at the end of all earthly time when He shall indeed be King of Kings, Lord of Lords, and Master of all!

You are invited to join us as we anticipate His coming yet again through the seasons and stories of the Church Year, beginning with Advent, and finally at His return on that last and magnificent day!

But you, Bethlehem-Ephrathaha least among the clans of Judah, From you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel; Whose origin is from of old, from ancient times! – Micah 5:1
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth! – John 1:14
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace – Isaiah 9:6

CHRISTMAS

Much more than carols, cookies and gifts, the seasonal observance of  Christmas is all about God keeping His promise to send a Savior that would save us from sin.  The Prophet Isaiah foretold Jesus’ coming many centuries before He was born: “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign.  Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”  “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Jesus is that promised savior born into the world to save us from our sin and we celebrate His birth, this unimaginable gift, at Christmas!

You are invited to join us as we celebrate God’s promise fulfilled in Jesus at Christmas!

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey! – Zechariah 9:9
Yet even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments.” Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and he relents over disaster! – Joel 2:12-13
Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh? – Isaiah 58:6-7

LENT

Just as Jesus turned His face toward Jerusalem in anticipation of His suffering, death and resurrection, so too, the season of Lent is the season of the Church Year that turns our hearts and minds toward the stories of Jesus suffering for sinners sake. We hear the words of Scripture ring true, “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us!” (Romans 5:8) For forty days the humble prayers and personal sacrifices of Lent testifies to not only the serious condition of our sin and great need for humble repentance, but also proclaims the work of Jesus, especially His passive obedience “to death, even death on a cross,” as the source of forgiveness offered to people today (Philippians 2:8). During Lent we are lead on a journey through the Valley of the Shadow of Death (Psalm 23:4) that culminates on Good Friday with Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice for sin on Calvary’s cross and causes us to await with anticipation Jesus’ ultimate victory in the resurrection-life of Easter morning!

Join us during the forty days of Lent as we die to self and prepare to rise with Christ when Easter comes!

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead! – 1 Peter 1:3
So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body! – 1 Corinthians 15:42-22
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”- John 11:25-26

EASTER

If one aspect of the season of Advent is to help prepare us for the birth of Jesus at Christmas, then Easter is the pinnacle season of the Church Year that proclaims our rebirth in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. In Baptism we are united in Jesus’ death and grave but rise with Him in the victory of Easter with the promise of everlasting life. Easter is not only the apex of God’s plan of salvation in Jesus life and work, but it also sets before the church the culmination of her life in Jesus: the victory over sin, death, and the devil along with God’s promise of eternal life, a new, perfect body and His creation restored in Jesus.

You are invited to join us as we are born anew in Jesus’ victory over death!