Since the Scripture readings for Advent are filled with so many images, Advent banners are helpful in portraying their message in a colorful and powerful symbolic way. Always begin preparations for Advent by considering the Scripture lessons that will be read. The following description is one example of a visual image that is based on an appropriate Scripture reading.
The seasons and feasts of the church year offer numerous possibilities for congregational movement and choreographed dance. Significant dimensions of these celebrations are best experienced through such action.
The church year provides a ready-made pattern for worship. The key seasons are Advent and Easter, which not only mark important events in the life of our Lord, but also inform the church’s responses to these events in outward and inward worship. In addition, the church year puts the congregation in tune with a great body of Christian tradition that stretches across the world and back through the centuries.
The historic starting point of the Christian year is the commemoration of the death and resurrection of Jesus, the Christian “Pascha,” or Passover. However, for most Christians, the Christian seasons begin with Advent, a time of preparation for the celebration of Christ’s coming.
Advent is a penitential season, calling us to both personal and corporate repentance. Acts of confession and lament are appropriate not only for personal wrongdoing but also for the evil principalities and powers that pervade our culture.
The history of Advent teaches us a great deal about its meaning and prepares us to observe this time with reverence and understanding. This history reveals the simultaneous importance of both penitence and hope, of both remorse and rejoicing.
Colors of the various seasons of the Christian year express the mood or feeling of the season. The following outline presents the colors most often associated with Christian seasons.
Worship leaders and planners from many traditions have been working toward a consensus or ecumenical approach to the Christian year, resulting in the following outline of the year-long calendar.
The resurrection of the crucified Christ is the point on which the weekly and annual cycles of the Christian calendar turn. In fact, it supplies the clue to the whole history of salvation and indeed the cosmos. Every Sunday and every Easter day is a commemoration and celebration of the resurrection of Jesus and an anticipation of the day when the same Lord will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead and finally establish God’s universal kingdom.
In the first centuries A.D. the cycle of Christian time grew out of the conviction that all-time finds its meaning in the death and resurrection of Christ. Thus the early Christians, beginning with the paschal event, extended the Christian calendar forward to Pentecost and backward to Lent and Holy Week. Later, in the fourth century, Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany were developed to complete the cycle.