What is the “Christian Year” and why do your planners include this?
Long before the Incarnation, the coming of God in the flesh as Jesus Christ, God established a rhythm to the year with His chosen people, the Hebrews. God instructed the Hebrews to celebrate times of feasting and fasting at set times during the year. This rhythm to the year allowed for the Hebrews to always include God in their regular life by looking forward to and celebrating the feasts, many of which were associated with miracles God had performed among His people. When Jesus came, He was born and raised by His Holy Mother Mary and Joseph his step-dad, who raised Him to celebrate the feasts as devout Hebrews. The earliest Christians came from this tradition of celebrating feasts and fasts according to the instructions of God in the Old Covenant. However, very soon in early Christian history Christians were cast out of the synagogue by the Hebrews who did not recognize Jesus as the Messiah. After this, the Christians began to commemorate special days in the life of Jesus Christ and His Mother. In the early days of Christianity many days were commemorated as worthy of remembrance every year. On the ancient calendar and on calendars today who follow the ancient tradition, there are 12 major feast days and one day which is called The Feast of Feasts, Easter or Pascha (meaning Passover.) Christmas and Easter are the feasts which are most commonly celebrated by all Christians today. In recent Christian history celebrating the Christian feasts has fallen out of practice by many traditions and many of the feasts of the Christian Year are unknown to modern Christians. It is our hope that the Morningtide Christian Year and Homeschool Planners will encourage the practice of remembering and celebrating the Christian feasts and fasts of the ancient calendar.
What is a lectionary, and which one should I choose?
A lectionary is a calendar of Scripture readings. Early on in Christian history, even before the books of the Bible that we know of today as “Scripture” were made official, the lectionary was put into place. The Christian congregations of early Christianity would have all had common Scripture readings established for the day. Whether you attended a service in Antioch or Jerusalem you would hear the same Scriptures read during the service. Reading the Scriptures according to a lectionary is an ancient practice. Reading according to the lectionary has also fallen out of practice in modern times as many Christian traditions do not follow a lectionary. Recently a large conglomeration of western Christian traditions have come together to establish a new lectionary, which is called the Revised Common Lectionary. This is the lectionary we recommend if your Christian tradition is western and non-Catholic. The Catholic Church has a lectionary and the Orthodox Church has a lectionary. We recommend you choose the lectionary which is associated the most closely with your particular tradition. We offer 4 lectionaries currently: The Revised Common Lectionary for non-Catholic western traditions including all Protestants and Evangelicals, The Roman Catholic Lectionary, the Greek Orthodox Lectionary, and the Orthodox Church in America Lectionary.
One of the blessings of reading Scripture according to the lectionary is that it is a form of communion and unity among your brothers and sisters in Christ to read the same Scriptures that others all over the world are reading on the same day. Another blessing is that the readings are often tied to the seasons of the Christian Year and this helps the believer to join themselves to the life of Christ by reading Scriptures that deepen the knowledge and love of God according to season. It is similar to eating seasonal food. Seasonal food tastes better because it’s fit for the season. It’s also more nutritious and healthful. The same principle applies to reading Scripture according to a lectionary, as each season in the Christian Year offers helps to the believer in living the Christian life.