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Advent begins the church year because the church year begins where Jesus' earthly life began — in the Old Testament prophecies of his incarnation.After Advent comes Christmas, which is about his birth; then Epiphany, about his miracles and ministry; then Lent, about his Calvary-bound mission; then Easter, about his resurrection and the sending of the apostles; and then Ascension (40 days after Easter) and Pentecost, with the sending of the Holy Spirit.

The readings, which highlight Christ's coming in the future, focus on his "second coming" on the Last Day at the end of time. Hence a "pink" candle was used to signify "rejoicing." Some also included a white "Christ candle" in the middle to be lit during the 12 days of Christmas (Dec. There are many beautiful customs and traditions surrounding Advent as well as a load of history concerning its development.

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.

The rest of the church, however, celebrated the passion and resurrection of our Lord according to a different formula which always placed Easter on a Sunday. You see, there was the little problem of determining when exactly the spring equinox would fall.

Needless to say, there was no little controversy over this discrepancy, and it wasn't until the Ecumenical Council of Nicea in A. 325 that the churches of the world finally got together and agreed on this rule: Easter Day shall always fall on the Sunday after the first full moon that occurs on or after the spring equinox. Various astronomical and calendrical solutions have been used at different times down through the centuries, but even today there is still no unanimity among churches concerning the celebration of Easter.

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.But how do the calendar makers know when Easter will be? How They Used to Do It By the middle of the second century, there were basically two ways Christians dated their celebrations of Easter.Some, the Quartodecimans (or “fourteenthers”), celebrated the death and resurrection of our Lord according to the “14th day of Nisan” — the day of the Jewish Passover (Lev. Since this date was not always on the same day of the week, the Quartodeciman celebration did not always fall on a Sunday.Usage: Congregational use of FAQs does not require permission of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod.However, each reproduction should credit the LCMS as the source and include a link or URL to this page.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?