Meaning literally "to make an entrance," Advent remembers the times in the past when God entered human life, the greatest of which was the birth of Jesus Christ. Along with recalling what God has done, the Advent Season also calls to anticipate what God will do again. As believers, we look forward to that time when, in Christ, God will make another entrance into human affairs and finish what he began so long ago. Said another way Advent is a time to celebrate and witness to what was and what is to come.
Purple (except rose which may be used on the third week of Advent), angels, prophets, the advent wreath, holly and ivy (the holly's red berry symbolizing Christ death while the white berry of the ivy symbolizing his resurrection).
In most lectionaries, Epiphany officially begins on January 6. Meaning literally "to turn on the lights," this season, like Advent, is a celebration of the way in which God through Christ illuminates our lives. While Advent focuses on the coming of the light at Christ's birth, Epiphany directs our attention to later events in Jesus' life which mark him as the Messiah, and, as such, the source of our hope. While it may be successfully argued that all the events in Jesus' life shed light on who he is, there are a few in particular in which we can best discern his divinity. For this reason some of the Sundays in this season are named after those events. For example, the first Sunday in Epiphany is always known as Baptism of the Lord since at this event God made it clear by rolling back the heavens, sending the Holy Spirit and saying "this is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased" that Jesus was special. The last Sunday in the Epiphany season also takes its name from an occasion in Jesus' life when there was no denying that he was the Son of God, the transfiguration.
Light, the gifts of the magi (gold is a featured color, and symbols associated with baptism)
Beginning on Ash Wednesday and lasting until Easter Sunday, Lent is a time when we see that while God gives himself to us we do not always give ourselves back. We see that the sin within us is adamantly opposed to God's coming (the main reason why our race killed Jesus). What is more we see that God is not put off by our violent stubbornness but in his wisdom uses our attempts to do away with him (the cross) as a means of loving us all the more. Indeed. Lent holds forth the promise that in the end God's love is stronger than our stubborn sinful nature and that he will prevail (hence the resurrection).
Purple, the cross, the crown of thorns, the scourge and symbols associated with the passion of Christ
Sin's giving way before God's irresistible grace is mirrored in the way the Lenten season gives way to Easter season. According to the church calendar Easter is more than just one day. Rather it is a forty day season during which we celebrate the way in which sin and death is giving way not only before Christ but before those who have died and been resurrected with him. During this period we celebrate not only Jesus' victory over death but because of his accomplishments, our own passage from death to life.
White and gold, light, the empty tomb and signs of new life
Carrying the work of Christ's resurrection forward into our lives is, of course, the Holy Spirit. According to Acts chapter two Jesus'' first followers celebrated the coming of God's Spirit among them on the day of Pentecost. Like Easter, Pentecost is more than a day, or even a season. It truly is a spiritual state of mind in which we see God continuing to change from what we are into what we were always meant to be.
Red, the dove, fire, wind, the burning bush, the law tablets and/or anything that represents the gifts given
Return to Worship Resources