The Christmas Cycle
The Church year begins with the Christmas cycle, which encompasses the events surrounding Jesus' birth. The Christmas cycle begins with Advent (which starts in late November) and with the baptism of the Lord (third Sunday after Christmas), which celebrates the beginning of Christ's public ministry.Advent: A Time of Expectation
Advent is a four-week season that anticipates the upcoming birth of Christ;
Some theologians attribute the formation of the Nativity festival to an attempt by the Catholic Church to foster Catholic belief in the humanity of Jesus Christ and as a way to counter an early heresy called
Christmas is followed by Epiphany, which is celebrated on January 6. Epiphany commemorates the arrival of the three wise men who came bearing gifts to honor the Christ Child in the manger. The Christmas cycle ends on the third Sunday after Christmas. A period of ordinary time ensues that lasts until the day after Mardi Gras, the beginning of the Easter Cycle.