The Making of Our Lutheran Liturgical Wall Calendar

The Making of Our Lutheran Liturgical Wall Calendar

Ever since the two of us started All the Household in 2021, we have received numerous messages from our readers asking what Lutheran resources are out there to help organize the household around the Church year. Well, the lack of theologically-sound, historical, germane, and beautiful materials catered to the Lutheran tradition was the very reason we started this project in the first place! We found from our own experiences looking online for Lutheran supplements or products to help with living the seasons of the Church more intentionally and deeply that there was not much available.

While we have centered our blog on writing about the holy days of the liturgical cycle and highlighting historic and thematic traditions to help Christians observe these days in a Lutheran way, there is still so much more to be done. As many of you probably know, there are not a lot of resources out there in terms of visual renderings of the liturgical cycle that can help Lutherans conceptualize the ways in which the dates of the Church calendar match up with the dates of the secular calendar. We realized from our own teaching and needs that such a visual aid is all the more important as the dates of many churchly observances change year after year and are constantly lining up differently with the dates of our society’s calendar.

This inspired us to start thinking about designing a Lutheran liturgical wall calendar that could bring together many of the elements that we appreciated from similar products created in other faith traditions, such as a format that followed the December-November year of the Church and included the placement of saints’ days, the names of Sundays, lectionary readings, colors of the Church seasons, and lesser-known commemorations like Ember Days and (particularly important) octaves. We wanted something we could actually use to write down necessary schedule-related information and keep track of more personalized liturgical dates such as baptismal birthdays, name days, days of fasting, and days we planned to go to confession. Additionally, we wanted something that we could imagine being beautifully displayed in a variety of settings—something that would reflect the beauty of the Christian art we have grown to love and would fit into homes, schools, and churches.

What we came up with is the product we just launched as part of our All the Household shop debut—the Lutheran Liturgical Wall Calendar. It has all of these elements and more, and we’re excited to share with you the manifestation of an idea born out of our own desire for beautiful and practical Lutheran liturgical material.

In terms of the process, we began by creating a sketch of the 2023–2024 Church year with all of its holy days. We included not only days that correspond with the sanctoral calendar found in the Lutheran Service Book but also other observations that are of Lutheran import—many found in Wilhelm Loehe’s Martyrology, a Lutheran sanctoral calendar dating back to 1869. This calendar contained what Loehe called “old calendar names”—days from the catholic cycle that he chose to include in his version only after his analysis of their historical context, critical assessment, and a conclusion that their feast offered something positive for an Evangelical Lutheran. Thus, we too included some of these days from Loehe’s calendar in our own in order to more wholly emphasize the historicity and Lutheran foundations of feasts and commemorations.

For the lectionary readings in the one-year calendar version, we pulled from extensive material found in the Daily Divine Service Book by the Rev. Heath Curtis. Not only did this book enable us to offer reading guidelines for Sundays and principal feasts, but it also provided us with guidelines surrounding the correct colors and hierarchy of feast days throughout the cycle.

Alongside this compilation, we started looking for traditional Christian artwork that corresponded to some of the major feasts of each month, hoping especially to emphasize the way in which the organization of the Church year is meant to direct our eyes towards Christ. While it was sometimes challenging to find materials that came together to create a unified aesthetic and also supported our Lutheran focus, we couldn’t be happier with the rich imagery that came to be part of the finished calendar. With this artwork largely coming from the Middle Ages in Italy, we selected stanzas of beloved Lutheran hymnody to accompany the images in an effort to pair the words from hymns and pieces of artwork together thematically. Our idea here was to offer some prose that viewers could reflect upon throughout the month and also suggest a hymn that could become part of a month-long memory-work or reflection activity.

When we had everything planned out, we worked with Pastor Stefan Gramenz of The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Christ the King in Pawling, NY, an assisting editor at The Lutheran Missal Project, to edit the liturgical details of the calendar and finalize the product.

Of course, we also had to learn lots about setting up a home studio and the ins and outs of comparing different types of printers, binding options, paper selections, shipping logistics and more in order to bring this product to life! While the learning curve in this area has seemed steep at times and there is so much more to learn to keep providing you Lutheran liturgical products like this one, it was also one of the most fun parts of the product creation! Some highlights included setting up a work surface in our home studio by building a desk from scraps of wood in Tessa’s garage while she was eight-months pregnant—a desk that was later replaced by a more heavy-duty one—and a handful of near-disasters when certain little hands wanted to “help” us out with our work.

We hope to build upon these calendars in the future and realize our other visions, too, but our many thanks goes to you who have followed our liturgical living journey these past couple of years. There are several people who have offered us invaluable support and have ensured that the content of our blog material and these products keeps in line with the Lutheran tradition and the faith that has been passed down to us generation after generation.

Credit certainly goes out to our wonderful pastor husbands for their theological advice and to them and our other family members for helping to keep our many children happy while we have carved out time to work. This is one of the reasons why this calendar means so much to us—we are busy moms and understand that it can be hard to keep up with the liturgical cycle and liturgical living in general. Having a calendar that easily displays images, hymn stanzas, holy days, Church year colors, and readings will assist us in staying on top of what’s going on in the Church.

We thank you for coming along with us, for reading a little bit more about the background of All the Household’s “next step,” and for your patience, prayers, and fellowship. Soli Deo Gloria!

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