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Dear COA Family,

What is the significance of times and seasons to our spirituality and faith?

The answer: they are actually very significant in God’s sight!

Just three Sundays ago, we started the Christian year with the season of Advent. The first Sunday
of Advent is actually the Church’s New Year’s Day. And the year continues until the Advent of the
following year.

So, what’s so special about establishing a Church’s year that is separate from the normal calendar
year of January to December? Isn’t it troublesome and confusing?

Let’s delve into what God did with the Israelites when he first delivered them from slavery in
Egypt. This is what he commanded the Israelites on that day through Moses:
This month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year” (Exodus 12:2).

In other words, the Israelites were to follow a new calendar, with new festivals and seasons
determined by God. They were to stop following the customs of Egypt where they were delivered
from. God was re-orientating the entire people towards himself.

This then is the significance of times and seasons. They orientate our lives to a source. We derive
our identity and values from observing the calendar we follow.

The Christian calendar thus orientates our lives around the life of Christ. It does so by reminding us
of the significant events in the life of Christ as well as his works in our lives:

1. We begin the church year with Advent – preparing ourselves for the coming of Christ (Dec).

2. We celebrate the birth of Christ with the Christmas season (End Dec – Jan).

3. Christ is revealed to be the Saviour of the world in the season of Epiphany (Jan – Feb).

4. We enter into a 40-day period of fasting to identify with the suffering of Christ (Mar).

5. The season of Lent culminates in the Holy Week – from Palm Sunday to Maundy Thursday,
Good Friday and Holy Saturday (Mar – Apr).

6. After the season of Lent comes the season of Easter – a 50-day period of time celebrating the
resurrection of Christ (Apr – May).

7. After the season of Easter is the season of the mission and growth of the Church in the power of
the Spirit (Jun – Oct).

As we live according to the Christian calendar each year, we begin to internalise and grow into the
life of Christ more and more. This helps us in our maturity in our faith and rootedness in Christ. We
learn more and more each year that we don’t live according to the standards and patterns of this
world but our focus is on Christ alone.

So, don’t underestimate the power of celebrating festivals, seasons and years that are commanded
by the Lord. They have the power to shape us more and more to be his people.

Let’s start by observing the season of Advent meaningfully.

God bless,
Revd Ian