The strips of colored cloth on the lectern and other pieces of furniture match the color of the minister’s stole to indicate the season of the Church year. The principle of the Church year is that time is to be redeemed and brought under the Gospel (Ephesians 5:16). To help God’s people submit time to Christ, the Church has organized the year around events in the life of Christ, again seeking to keep life Christ-centered. These events fall into different seasons of the year, each season represented by a different color. Also, since time has three patterns – daily, weekly, and seasonal – the Church seeks through its calendar to reinforce on a seasonal basis what is taught in Church on a weekly basis. For this reason, there will be special services at different seasons of the year to focus the Church’s attention on Christ.
Advent: The expectation of the Messiah as king. The lessons have to do with what kind of person he is, why he is needed, and how he comes into the world. The season is both the beginning of the church year by directing our thoughts to his first coming in Incarnation, and the culmination of the church year by anticipating his second coming in glory. The color is purple to symbolize royalty and penitence in preparation for the coming of the King.
Christmas: The birth of Jesus and the events surrounding his Incarnation are read and studied. The color is white for purity and glory. The Apostle John says that Christ is the greatest expression of this glory (John 1:14).
Epiphany: This word ,which comes from the Greek, means appearing. Epiphany tracks Christ’s appearing or showing forth of himself to the world and especially to the Gentiles (non-Jews), indicating his world mission as prophet, priest, and king. The color is green to symbolize the growth of Christ’s ministry.
Pre-Lent: These Sundays prepare for Lent. They are called by the Latin names: Septuagesima, Sexagesima, and Quinquagesima, meaning seventy, sixty, and fifty days before Easter. The color can be either purple for preparation, or green because these are the last three Sundays of Epiphany.
Lent: This season begins forty days before Easter. It focuses on the fasting and temptation period of Christ’s preparation for his ministry, a period of forty days. The application to the Church becomes a special time of repentance and self-examination. The color remains purple for penitence.
Easter: This includes Resurrection Sunday and the several Sundays that follow. It points to the Resurrection of Christ and his activities until his Ascension. The color is white for purity and glory.
Ascension: We worship, at this time, Our Lord who has ascended into heaven to be at the right hand of God to intercede for his Church and to build his kingdom on earth. The color is white for the glory of God.
Whitsunday or Pentecost: This occurs fifty days after the Resurrection. It teaches about the coming of the Holy Spirit as tongues of fire, symbolized by the color of red.
Trinity: The final and longest season (six months) of the Church year begins with a special Sunday devoted to the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, the basis of the Christian faith. Throughout the season, however, the ministry, miracles, and teachings (especially concerning the kingdom of God) are emphasized. The color is green for the growth of the Church after Pentecost.