I do not need to tell you that the Church calendar is a strange thing, or maybe I do. A good little 18-page chunk at the start of the Book of Common Prayer (p. 15-33) is designed to help you navigate this calendar, not to mention an additional section at the back with tables and rules for finding the dates for holy days (p. 879-885). Both sections are filled with rules, exceptions to the rules, and helpful footnotes. It’s enough to make you think, “Thank God we sent our priests to seminary to learn all this stuff!” You just go on thinking that, by the way.
What makes the Church calendar fun and interesting is the bizarre and yearly-changing interplay between the moveable feast and fast days and those that are fixed. Many of our feasts and fasts are fixed: think Christmas (December 25), Epiphany (January 6), All Saints (November 1). But, to keep things interesting, Easter, and any celebration that takes its cues from the date of Easter (Ash Wednesday, Ascension, Pentecost, etc.), runs on an entirely different rhythm based on the dance of moon and sun.
The interplay of these feasts and fasts and seasons makes for some strange confluences. The other day I was preparing materials for our annual staff calendar planning session (truly, the stuff of INTJ dreams!), and I discovered that in 2016, the Feast of the Annunciation of Our Lord Jesus Christ to the Blessed Virgin Mary (a feast fixed on March 25) coincides with Good Friday. Now there is a strange juxtaposition! How could one possibly hold these events together? Hope and despair, promise and tragedy would fill such a day to overflowing. But, no worries, the calendar-makers have thought of all that. So, the Annunciation gets kicked out of Holy Week altogether. But, wait, it can’t be celebrated in Easter week either! (See p. 17 of your BCP). Finally, the feast of the Annunciation 2016 lands on April 4.
Therefore, #preemiebabyjesus2016! Be born in us in all your vulnerability!