Colours of the Church Year

St. John’s, like other liturgical churches, follows the Christian church year.  The church year invites Christians to reflect on different periods and events in the life of Christ. Each season or event in the church year reminds us of a pivotal time in the life and ministry of Jesus. Following the church year allows Christians to deepen our faith as we take the time to focus and reflect on what Jesus means for us and our world, and what he went through on earth.

Some of the colours only appear on one specific day of the year so are hard to spot on this calendar. The exact dates of each colour vary each year except for Christmas and Epiphany.

Blue is used during the season of Advent and is the color of royalty to welcome the coming of a King.

Rose (or pink) symbolizes joy and happiness and is often used for the Third Sunday of Advent, also known as Gaudete Sunday. Gaudete is Latin for “Rejoice”. Gaudete Sunday comes after the mid-point of Advent and is a time to rejoice that the birth of our Savior (Christmas) is coming near.

White symbolizes light, purity, holiness, triumph, joy and virtue and is used for all high Holy Days and festival days, including the seasons of Christmas and Easter. White may also be used throughout the year for baptisms, marriages, and funerals (as a symbol of the resurrection).

Green symbolizes growth, eternal life, hope, the renewal of vegetation and generally of living things and the promise of new life. It is used for the season of Epiphany and Ordinary Time.

Purple can symbolize pain, suffering, and therefore mourning and penitence. It is used for the season of Lent. It is also the color of royalty, and can be used during Advent.

Red symbolizes both fire and the blood of the martyrs and is used for Pentecost and for saints days commemorating martyrs.

Black represents death and mourning, and the color black is a lack of color. It can be used on Good Friday and Holy Saturday.

Finding Bethlehem in the mists of Bedlam by James W Moore

How do we express the birth of Jesus Christ to our world?

How do we do justice to his birth?

How do we capture its impact?

How do we communicate what it means?

John expresses it well in his gospel; “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it” (verse 5) that’s what Christmas is about; and that’s why it’s the season of lights. Everywhere we look – in our city, our nation, and across the globe – Christmas lights are coming on – lights on Christmas trees and manger scenes, lights on houses and buildings, lights on doorways and in Windows, candle lights, spotlights, and neon lights. All these lights symbolise the same thing, the light of God coming into a dark world, the light of God coming in the birth of the baby to bring true, open, love, and peace to a needy dusky world.

A strong message always comes to us when we look towards the manger in Bethlehem. From the manger in Bethlehem and from the empty tomb of Jerusalem comes very powerful words: “Mind the light!” That is, keep the light of Christ of glow in the world. Keep bright and clear and visible what Jesus stood for and with keep bright and clear and visible what he believed in and died for keep the light of Christmas burn

We find God’s light in Jesus Christ, our job at Christmas is to be reflectors of the light of Christ and bring some measure of his lights and life to dark corners of the world.

Getting through Christmas during times of loss

Getting through Christmas during times of loss –Ron Edmondson

Christmas is a wonderful time of year. As the song goes, “it’s the most wonderful time of the year”. But for some, Christmas can be a miserable time.

Some have lost a loved one, suffered to the end of a significant relationship, or even had a severe personal loss of income or health. For them, Christmas is just another reminder of what they no longer have…

Here are some ways that may help:

List your losses – death, divorce, injury, finances, children moving out this year – whatever they are – write them down, Journal. Admit the pain.

Share them – share them with God, maybe with a close friend or seek out a counsellor. Find support in a prayer group. We were designed for community, especially at times like this.

Resist falling into despair – that’s where you live in a false reality that all hope it is gone. It is not.

Take care of your physical body – each well, exercise, and get adequate rest. More important during a time of loss.

Do something for someone else – there are many opportunities during Christmas to help people. Helping other people reminds us that we are not alone, and other people may be struggling too. plus, something about giving encourages positive emotions.

Encourage yourself to participate in social activities – you may not feel like it, but social support is helpful in recovering from loss.

Avoid the comparison game – don’t compare your losses to other people’s losses.

Honour your losses with new traditions – begin some new rituals that will help you reflect on the good things you experience with the person you’ve lost, and also to the developed some new memories.

Learn to worship in tears – God is good – even when it doesn’t seem like life is good – you’re better equipped to face the storms of life.

Christ is the peace of Christmas, and he can fill your brokenness. You can trust him. This Christmas that the Christ of Christmas fill the void and to lawsuit you have in your hearts and life.


More than just a feeling, gratitude is actually a practice: one we can cultivate and even develop, which will transform our experience of ourselves, our lives, and our world. Br. David Vryhof offers practical encouragement for rediscovering this essential, countercultural practice. Find out why there is always reason for gratitude. Go to to find out more.

SSJE is a convenient way of describing the “Society of Saint John the Evangelist”


Br. David Vryhof

Br. David Vryhof lives at the Monastery in Cambridge where he serves as Communication Brother. He loves that his day is grounded in the Daily Office (while his actual office is grounded in plenty of post-it notes and to-do lists!). He is the community’s sole sports fan.










cultivating our awareness and response

– Br. David Vryhof, SSJE

I have a memory of my fifth-grade teacher asking us to write a short paragraph describing the things in our lives for which we were thankful. I sat for the longest time just staring at that piece of paper. I couldn’t think of a thing for which I was thankful.

I was surrounded by gifts, but I didn’t recognize them as gifts, and so I couldn’t begin to express my gratitude for them. I naively assumed that everyone had food and clothing, a loving family and a comfortable home. I was unaware of how privileged I was to enjoy these things on a daily basis, and simply took them for granted.

Gratitude springs from the awareness that we have been given a gift. Often this awareness comes upon us in sudden and unexpected ways. We are walking along and suddenly our breath is taken away by the beauty of the autumn leaves, or we are talking with a close friend and suddenly we realize what a gift this person has been to us. We’ve been given a gift: something has come to us from outside ourselves – something unexpected and even undeserved – and our lives have been enriched by it. We feel grateful.

This awareness can rise in us suddenly and unexpectedly, but it can also be cultivated. We can develop our awareness, and learn to practice gratitude. Learning to see with eyes of gratitude, becoming more aware of the gifts that surround us on every side, is an ability that needs to be kept alive through constant practice. In the words of Rabbi Abraham Heschel, “The insights of wonder must be constantly kept alive.” 
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