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The first half of the church year (approximately December through June) highlights the of Christ. That's "the church year in a nutshell," and it should help reveal how Advent fits into "the big picture." Advent specifically focuses on Christ's "coming," but Christ's coming manifests itself among us in three ways — past, present, and future.The readings which highlight Christ's coming in the past focus on the Old Testament prophecies of his incarnation at Bethlehem. The concept of giving each candle a name, i.e., Prophecy, Bethlehem, Shepherd and Angel, etc., is a relatively novel phenomenon and probably originates with certain entrepreneurial publishers seeking to sell Advent candles and devotional booklets.Return to Church Year FAQs | Return to main menu QUESTION: During our Bible study this past Sunday, someone asked how Easter can be on a different Sunday every year.Pastor said it had to do with the aligning of the moon, but he didn't know the exact reason why.The 'Easy Way' and the 'Hard Way' So what's the easiest way to determine the date for Easter?In the two sections below, the Commission on Worship has provided the "easy way" and the "hard way." The Commission provided a new chart through 2025 in our hymnal. Algorithm for Determining the Date of Easter (1900-??What all of this means is that the eastern celebration of Easter usually follows anywhere from a week to several weeks after the western celebration. One possibility would be to go on celebrating our respective Easters and just not worry about it.

And the readings that highlight Christ's coming in the present focus on his ministry among us through Word and Sacrament today. These matters would be better found in books than here.

Return to main menu QUESTION: Why does the church year begin at Advent, what is the history of Advent, and what is the history behind the Advent candles and wreath?

ANSWER: The word “advent" is from the Latin word for “coming,” and as such, describes the “coming” of our Lord Jesus Christ into the flesh.

The ashes are usually derived from the burned palms from the previous Palm Sunday.

Experience will show, however, that in obtaining ashes this way, it doesn't take many ashes to "ash" a whole congregation. One palm leaf will produce enough ashes for several years.