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THE LITURGICAL YEARThe use of color to represent the seasons of the church, dates as far back as the fourth century. The use of specific colors has gone through several changes over the years but has become a common practice in the Western church. The church calender, representing it's seasons and celebrations, is commonly referred to as the Liturgical Calender Year. This liturgical calender reflects the life of Christ through his death and resurrection and the colors express emotions and ideas that are associated with each season. There are slight variations of the use of traditional colors between the different denominations of Christian churches and among the churches in the United Church of Christ. The following is the colors used at First Congregational Church of Battle Creek, to represent our liturgical seasonal calender.
ADVENT - The church calender begins with the season of Advent. The word Advent is Latin, which means "to come to". This season begins four Sundays before December 25th and is the time of preparation for the celebration of the birth of Christ. Historically the color of purple has been used during this time as well as the color of blue. Our church uses a midnight blue accented with gold stars, to represent this season of Advent, reminiscent of the night sky and the star over Bethlehem.
CHRISTMAS & CHRISTMAS SEASON - This is the season we celebrate the arrival of the light of the light of Christ into the darkness of the world. Christmas day begins this season which continues for twelve days ending with Epiphany on January 6th. The traditional color of this season is white.
SEASON after EPIPHANY - This season is referred to as the "Time of the Church" or "Ordinary Time". This time in the church includes those times not celebrated by other special seasons. The traditional liturgical color for this season and time, is green the color of growth and life.
LENT - The season of Lent begins with Ash Wednesday which is 40 days before Easter Sunday, excluding Sundays during that time. The time is representative of the 40 days of temptation that Jesus experienced in the wilderness. It is a time of reflection, self study, prayer, fasting, personal discipline, and good works. It is a time of preparation to focus or refocus our lives toward God. Purple is the color of this season.
HOLY WEEK - This week begins on Palm Sunday with Jesus' triumphant entry into Jerusalem for the Passover celebration which is the Sunday before Easter and continues through the Last Supper on Maundy Thursday to his crucifixion on Good Friday. While color changes are appropriate in the wider church, at FCC we remain in the color of purple until Good Friday, when all the color is removed or black is use to represent the death of Christ.
EASTER and PENTECOST - The liturgical color for the Easter celebration is white and begins on Easter Sunday. This time continues for 50 days, which includes Ascension Thursday and ends with Pentecost Sunday. Pentecost is Sunday celebrated with the color of red which represents the beginning of the Christian Church and reminds us of fire, the symbol of the Holy Spirit.
SEASON after PENTECOST - This is the longest season of the liturgical year and is a continuation of the "Time of the Church". The traditional color of this time is green which is a time of growth both in our Christian lives and the life of the church.
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