I was glad when they said to me,
“Let us go to the Lord’s house.”
And now we are here,
standing inside the gates of Jerusalem!
Jerusalem is a city restored
in beautiful order and harmony.
This is where the tribes come,
the tribes of Israel,
to give thanks to the Lord
according to his command.
Here the kings of Israel
sat to judge their people.
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
“May those who love you prosper.
May there be peace inside your walls
and safety in your palaces.”
For the sake of my relatives and friends
I say to Jerusalem, “Peace be with you!”
For the sake of the house of the Lord our God
I pray for your prosperity. (Good News Translation)
I am confident, on this Black Friday, that the vast majority of Americans are on a different pilgrimage than the type described by David. They’re singing an alternative song and reading a secular psalm:
When they said, “Let’s go to Best Buy,”
my heart leaped for joy.
And now we’re here, O Circuit City,
inside the walls of electronic heaven!
The gaming systems! The glorious computer firewalls,
all built as a place for unceasing worship!
Sin City, er, I mean Sim City, to which the gamers ascend,
allows us to build a New Jerusalem in our own image.
Give thanks to all the Skylines and Rimworlds—
this is what it means to be master of a small world.
Game of Thrones is the righteous judgment in my petty kingdom,
a Kingdom at War with me as sovereign.
Pray for the peace of Wal-Mart!
Prosperity to all you Target-lovers!
Friendly insiders, get along!
Hostile outsiders, keep your distance!
For the sake of my family and friends,
I say it again: live in peace, once I conquer you all!
For the sake of Amazon sales,
I’ll do my very best to land the best deal on this holy Black Friday.
It’s not my purpose to try and be a prude (but I’m clearly not above doing some parody!) I just like how my spiritual forebears have chosen to mark time, events, and seasons – instead of how corporate and secular America chooses to. And I’m convinced I have a better life because of it.
As for me, I’ll stick with the ancient and historic way of pilgrimage, not the secular liturgy of Black Friday, Cyber Monday, etc. I’m going to sojourn through the year, as I do every year, marking my calendar with the rhythms of Christ’s incarnation, life, ministry, death, resurrection, ascension, and glorification.
We have now entered the new Christian liturgical year. Whereas most of Western society is holding to all sorts of holidays, mostly centering around a market economy and past political events, I’m choosing to build my year around the person and work of Jesus Christ.
If you’d like to participate in the movement of seasons and events along with me, then this is what we will be observing in this next liturgical year:
Advent (November 27–December 24, 2022)
Nativity of the Lord, Christmas Eve: December 24
The Christian Year begins not on January 1, but four Sundays before Christmas Day and up to Christmas Eve. The purpose of Advent is to anticipate Christ’s incarnation and prepare Christians to celebrate the coming of Jesus. We are also reminded during the season of Advent that Jesus will return again at the end of the age.
Christmas (December 25, 2022–January 5, 2023)
Christmas Day: December 25
Yes, Christmas is more than just a day on the Church Calendar and encompasses the “12 Days of Christmas”. Christmas is a full twelve days of celebrating the birth of Christ.
Epiphany (January 6–February 21, 2023)
Epiphany of the Lord: January 6
Baptism of the Lord: January 8
Transfiguration of the Lord: February 19
Epiphany follows Christmas up to the day before Ash Wednesday. The term Epiphany means “manifestation.” This is a celebration of God’s revelation, his manifestation to the entire world, not just to the Jews, but to the Gentiles, as well. Epiphany emphasizes Jesus Christ’s earthly ministry of teaching, healing, and preaching.
Lent (February 22–April 8, 2023)
Ash Wednesday: February 22
Holy Week: April 2-8
Palm Sunday: April 2
Maundy Thursday: April 6
Good Friday: April 7
There are forty days (not including Sundays) in the season of Lent, from Ash Wednesday to Holy Saturday. Lent is a time to recall Christ’s temptation, conflict, suffering, and death. It is a season to contemplate Christian discipleship through the light of Christ’s Passion, engage in repentance, and put deliberate focus on spiritual disciplines that connect the penitent with Jesus.
Easter (April 9–May 27, 2023)
Resurrection of the Lord, Easter Sunday: April 9
Ascension of the Lord: May 18
As with Christmas, Easter is not just one Sunday; it is a season of fifty days up to the day of Pentecost. Easter, or “Eastertide,” celebrates the resurrection of Jesus; helps believers recognize new life in Christ; and includes celebrating the Ascension of the Lord.
Pentecost (May 28–December 2, 2023)
Day of Pentecost: May 28
Trinity Sunday: June 4
This season runs from Eastertide to the Sunday before Advent. Pentecost celebrates the gift of the Holy Spirit, the birth of the church, acknowledges personal and communal spiritual power, and calls Christians to rejoice in receiving God’s power.
Ordinary Time (May 28–December 2, 2023)
All Saints Day: November 1
Christ the King Sunday: November 26
This is the same season as Pentecost. Ordinary time (also known as Proper Time) refers to the ongoing work of the church to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ, which is the typical, expected, proper and ordinary work of ministry that Christ’s followers are to do.
Everybody likes a good deal, which is why everyone ought to love the good news of grace and forgiveness. It’s free but not cheap, and wildly generous while being, at the same time, costly, but definitely worth it.
Journeying with Jesus throughout the Christian Year helps us to receive the gospel of grace, especially when our post-holiday budget begins judging us.