Christian Year, The

Christian Year, The
   The Church's Year of Festivals and Fasts is called the Christian Year because as Bishop Cosin says, "the Church does not number her days, or measure her seasons, so much by the motion of the sun, as by the course of our Saviour; beginning and counting her year with Him who, being the true Sun of Righteousness, began now to rise upon the world."
   The Christian Year is one of our richest possessions and has been handed down to us from the most ancient times. By it the Church regulates her Public Worship, makes generous provision for the reading of the Bible and for us, her people, it is the measure of our coming up to the House of God. By means of it we connect the passage of time with the great facts of Redemption and thus are enabled to so number our days that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom. An examination of its structure reveals the fact that it insures the Scriptural setting forth of the Gospel, not in part, but in all its fulness. Its principal divisions are as follows:
   I. ADVENT, the Coming of Christ; the Season includes four Sundays.
   II. CHRISTMAS, Incarnation and Birth of Christ.
   III. EPIPHANY, the Manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles: Season variable and may include six Sundays.
   IV. SEPTUAGESIMA or the PRE-LENTEN SEASON; three Sundays: why God the Son came to earth; consciousness of sin.
   V. LENT, including HOLY WEEK, GOOD FRIDAY, and EASTER EVEN; Penitence and Amendment of life; Redemption by the Blood of Christ.
   VI. EASTER, the Risen Life; teaching of the Great Forty Days.
   VII. ASCENSION, the Hope of Glory.
   VIII. WHITSUN TIDE, the Gift of the Holy Ghost.
   IX. The TRINITY SEASON, the completed Revelation; the moralities of the Gospel.
   In addition to these great divisions or seasons, there are the Holy Days dotting the Calendar -- SAINTS' DAYS commemorating the grace given unto God's faithful servants, and other Holy Days each having its special Scriptural teaching.
   See Fasts, Table of, also Feasts.
   The value of the Christian Year cannot be too highly estimated, for after all has been said, the fact remains, that no better instructor in the truths of the Bible can be found than what is commonly called THE CHRISTIAN YEAR.

American Church Dictionary and Cyclopedia. — New York, Thomas Whittaker. . 1901.

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