Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Eastertide: The White and Gold Season

I'm back from our time in San Diego, where I basked in warm sunshine, admired a blooming desert, worshipped on Easter Sunday, got to experience a 7.2 earthquake and multiple aftershocks, had rain showers and soaked up time with family to tide me over for a few more months.

I was just about to get busy and "redecorate" my blog before I downloaded trip pictures when I had a thought:

"Is Easter over yet, or does Easter Sunday just mark the beginning of a special time for Christians?"

I personally am a tad chagrined at how modern Christians leap into Christmas mode on December first, and typically being celebrating Christmas with the first whiff of evergreen, carol, or seeing colorful lights strung on a rooftop.

Then on December 26th, they bundle all the Christmas decorations up and with a sigh of relief, declare that celebrating Christmas is OVER at last.

I find that quite odd: Christmas has actually just begun and has another eleven days to go! Christmastide isn't over until Epiphany for goodness sake!
Those days before Christmas were Advent, a time of preparation.
The days after Christmas Day are the days of celebration!

So back to my question...should I be replacing my Easter greetings with some other sort of thing?***
(***Of course I could if I wanted to. Freedom in Christ and all that.)

But still...would I be bulldozing over a seasonal tide designed for a specific purpose?

Being a good and faithful librarian, I decided to do a little research to see what I could find.

Here's what I found:

"In the Christian church year, the two major cycles of seasons, Christmas and Easter, are far more than a single day of observance.

Like Christmas, Easter itself is a period of time rather than just a day. "

It is actually a seven-week season of the church year called Eastertide, the Great Fifty Days that begins at sundown the evening before Easter Sunday (the Easter Vigil) and lasts for six more Sundays until Pentecost Sunday (some traditions use the term Pentecost to include these Fifty Days between Easter and Pentecost Sunday).

These seven Sundays are called the Sundays of Easter, climaxing on the seventh Sunday, the Sunday before Pentecost Sunday. This is often celebrated as Ascension Day (actually the 40th day after Easter Sunday, which always falls on Thursday, but in churches that do not have daily services it is usually observed the following Sunday).

Ascension Day marks not only the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, but his exaltation from servanthood to Ruler and Lord as the fitting climax of Resurrection Day (Eph 1:20-22).

These special days and seasons are a means to shape sacred time, a structure in which to define what it means to be Christian and to call God’s people to reverent and faithful response to God.
Easter encompasses a time of preparation (Lent; Advent for Christmas) as well as a following period of reflection on its significance for the life of God’s people (Pentecost; Epiphany for Christmas).

However, while Epiphany following Christmas focuses on the mission of God’s people to the world, the Pentecost season following Easter focuses on the church as the witness to the resurrection. In anticipation of this emphasis at Pentecost, the Scripture readings during the Sundays of Easter are different, with readings from the Acts of the Apostles replacing readings from the Old Testament. This emphasizes that the church, as empowered by the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, is the best witness to the resurrection and the work of God in the world in Jesus the Christ.

The Sanctuary colors for Easter Sunday and Ascension Day are white and gold, the colors of sacred days throughout the church year. For the Easter season, white symbolizes the hope of the resurrection, as well as the purity and newness that comes from victory over sin and death. The gold (or yellow) symbolizes the light of the world brought by the risen Christ that enlightens the world, as well as the exaltation of Jesus as Lord and King.

(Above taken from HERE)

I didn't know that Eastertide's colors were white and gold/yellow when I put the currently page look together awhile ago. Now that I do know this, I think I will leave the look alone for a bit, and let it remind me of The Season that so few really know anything about.

And let it remind me that there is need to let my light shine out in this present age that so deeply is in need of enlightenment.

1 comment:

Vicki said...

Jill, thanks for posting this! It has always irked me a bit that the holidays (Holy Days) seem to end the day after the observed day. The significance of the dates marking the observance of these periods of time on the Christian calendar tend to get lost...Ascension Day, Epiphany, and so on.

Every day is a celebration on my calendar that Christ arose from the dead! His "new life" is our assurance that this life is a temporary deal...the best part - our new life! - is yet to come!