The Church Year
The first Sunday in Advent, begins the new church year — a time of preparation, a time of waiting for the Christ Child.
The liturgical color for Advent is blue, the color of hope, and hope is the primary theme of Advent. You will see the change of colors on the altar and in the chancel hangings and banners.
To allow Advent to have its fullest impact, we defer Christmas music and decorations so that the symbols and themes of Advent are not obscured by Christmas preparations.
The first Sunday in Advent centers on the Parousia, the second coming of Jesus, or as the New Testament prefers to call it, his Appearing. The second and third Sundays focus on John the Baptist as the herald or forerunner of Christ. The fourth Sunday focuses on the Virgin Mary as the obedient servant chosen to bear God’s anointed one.
The season of Christmas begins Christmas Day and continues for 12 days—until the day of Epiphany. The liturgical color of the season is white.
The season of Epiphany begins January 6 and may be as long as eight weeks or as few as three. Epiphany is the time the church is to "make Christ known". The liturgical color is green.
The fourth season of the church year is Lent.
Ash Wednesday worship and communion services are held in the Bethel Sanctuary at 7:00 am, 11:00 am, 6:30 pm, and 8:00 pm in Spanish.
The word Lent originally meant "spring" and is to be understood as a time to reflect on Baptism and its basis in the death and resurrection of Jesus. The Gospel emphasis is on the cross and discipleship. The liturgical color for this six-week season is purple. This is traditionally a penitential time, and there is an austerity that is absent in other seasons. Flowers do not decorate the chancel during this time, nor are Alleluias sung.
The season of Easter begins with the Easter Vigil on Easter Eve. Easter is to be understood as the crown of the whole year, and as such it lasts not for a day or a week, but for seven weeks. The Sundays of this season are called the Sundays of Easter—50 days of rejoicing. The liturgical color is white.
The Day of Pentecost, the birthday of the church, is the culmination of the Easter celebration and the long season which follows this day is called the season after Pentecost. The liturgical color for the Day of Pentecost is red. The Sundays after Pentecost are the season of growth; the liturgical color is green. The season ends in November and the last Sunday of the church year is observed as the festival of Christ the King.