Dear Friends across our Parish and beyond,
Happy New Year, I hope you had a blessed Christmas and that 2022 has begun well for you and your family.
January seems to me to be a month of mixed emotions, it is dark, cold and dreary due to the wintry weather but it is also a time of hopeful expectancy as another year begins and as signs of new life begin to sprout.
Once the Christmas decorations have been removed, all their colour and sparkle packed away, January can seem ‘colourless’ but our liturgical colours in church remind us that we are still in a season of light and joy.
Having been recently asked about the liturgical colours that accompany our church calendar let me offer you this summary of what they are and what they mean;
Advent, beginning at the end of November and lasting until Christmas Eve, this season is signified by the colour purple. It is a time of expectation and preparation for Jesus’ birth and also for His return as judge at the end of time.
Christmas, the 12 days when we celebrate the birth of Jesus (the Incarnation) and especially remember that the Word became flesh for our salvation. The Nativity readings and crib scenes point us to the greater glories of Jesus birth. White or gold are the colours that accompany this glorious church season and they are also used for Epiphany, which is celebrated on 6th January as the time when the Magi visited baby Jesus with their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Epiphany then continues until Candlemas (2nd February) when we celebrate the occasion when Mary and Joseph took baby Jesus to be presented at the Temple in accordance with the Law of Moses.
There may then be a few weeks now known as ‘Ordinary Time’ when our liturgical colour is Green. These weeks lead us to Lent when we return to the colour purple signifying penitence as we enter 40 days of self-examination, self-denial and preparation for Easter. However, as Palm Sunday begins Holy Week, our colour becomes red as we journey with Christ to the cross.
After the solemnity of Lent and Holy Week we are in full joyful celebration mood for Easter, our holiest day and our colour is white again. On Easter Day we particularly celebrate Jesus’ resurrection and for the 7 weeks that follow we continue those celebrations recalling the post-resurrection appearances of Christ and the beginnings of ‘Christian fellowships’. At Pentecost we mark the coming of the Holy Spirit with red though we return to white for Trinity Sunday.
Thereafter, green is the colour for the weeks of Trinity indicating our growth in faith and knowledge as we revisit Jesus’ ministry and teaching. Occasionally red is used again to signify the feast day of saints.
Look out for these changes of colour in our churches, they are more obvious in some of our places of worship than in others! A clue is to see what colour vestments (robes) the priest is wearing to celebrate the Eucharist.
Every blessing for the coming year,