Seasons of the Church Year
Advent begins four Sundays before Christmas, and its color is blue (in some places purple). During Advent we prepare for the Judgment, and for the coming of Christ at Christmas. The bell represents our call to be worshipful and reminds us of the watchman's alarm bell.
The Feast of our Lord's Nativity is not just one day but 12, ending at Epiphany. The color is festival white. The three rays on the carved Nimbus are a traditional reference to a Person of the Trinity, in this case our Lord.
The Season of Epiphany consists of the Feast of Epiphany (January 6) plus whatever time there is between January 6 and Ash Wednesday. The theme of the season is the way Christ has made Himself known to us. The color is the fresh green of new growth. The carved shell is a reference to Baptism.
Lent begins 40 days, not counting Sundays, from Easter. Since the date of Easter is based on a lunar calculation, as Passover is, Lent can begin at various times in February and March. Lent is a time of preparation for Holy Week and Easter, and involves some serious reflection, simplicity, repentance, and renewed commitment. The color is the unbleached linen of simplicity. The carved Cross reminds us of our Lord's sacrifice in our behalf.
This season begins on Easter Eve and continues for 50 days, ending at Pentecost. The color is festival white and the focus has to do with learning to be a Resurrection people. The carved Chi Rho, the monogram of Christ, reflects the grandeur of God's saving acts.
The Tongues of Fire that rested upon the Disciples and marked the beginning of their apostolic ministry give us the Carved Flames and the color red. The rest of the season is devoted to Christian growth and is marked by green vestments and hangings.