My grandfather kept a hobby farm in Malta. On one occasion I overheard my grandparents discussion something and I regularly heard the word ‘shitta’. Rather unfortunate near-homonym for rain. You see the soil needed to be dry for about a week after the seeds were planted, they wanted to prepare well so they could receive well an abundant harvest.
Seasons are not only important in the agricultural industry but are marked throughout nature. Our cycle of the sun over 365 days we call a year is also divided into 4 seasons. Cycles are also marked in our bodies, we all need to eat and sleep. The Church also has liturgical cycles and like autumn is marked with leaves reddening, yellowing, browning and falling, each season in the Church is marked with signs and symbols to heighten the senses of the faithful and help them enter into the spirit of the season.
You may have notices that this time of the year the Church is coloured purple, wreaths are present near the altar with 4 candles, one newly lit each week and Nativity scenes are set up but are missing the vital protagonist, Jesus. All these things tie in with the season of Advent. They help us understand that we are awaiting the coming of the Light of the World - Jesus - God in flesh. And it would be liturgically correct to say Happy New Year because the Church year starts on the first Sunday of Advent.
Advent prepares us for Christmas. Christmas is good news! But even better news; Christmas is not a single day - BUT 12 DAYS!!! (hence the 12 Days of Christmas) Here Jesus appears in the manger, the Church is coloured white and gold and the Gloria is sung again at Mass. All this until the Wise Men arrive as we celebrate the Epiphany.
The liturgical calendar also includes Lent, Easter and Ordinary time with Feast Days and Solemnities scattered throughout. The universal Church lives these seasons concurrently. As humans we respond to these symbols and seasonal celebrations. These seasons are graces in the life of the Church as they help us prepare, live and know more intimately the life of Jesus.
You can find the Year 2015 Liturgy Calendar on the Liturgy Brisbane website.