The Christian calendar is the narrative of Christ and his church. An oversimplified version of the Christian calendar goes something like this: the anticipation of Christ's birth (Advent), his birth (Christmas), his life here on earth (Epiphany), his journey toward Jerusalem (Holy Week), his death (Good Friday), his resurrection (Easter), the formation of the church (Pentecost) and then there is a long period of time called Ordinary Time in which certain aspects of faith are focused on, especially the mission of the church.
Essentially, the Christian calendar revolves around Christmas and Easter but it wouldn't be complete without these other festivals and sacred days.
I love this time of year. Historically, Advent (coming or arrival) was a season marked with fasting and penitence much like the season of Lent. It's official color was purple, the color of suffering. Over time, many protestant churches softened the blow of Advent by eliminating any serious talk of fasting and now many use the color royal blue which connotes the royalty of the one coming. The season is joyful and hopeful.
I don't know about you but I could use a little dose of joy and hope right about now. The lectionary texts will make it hard on me this year because Luke is its primary gospel and we all know Luke can read pretty harshly or as my sister says, "You never see Lukan quotes on Christmas cards." But alas, I do love this season as we anticipate Christ coming again.
Now I gotta find a way to communicate that to my three-year-old daughter who is enamored with Santa Claus and his reindeer!