Green vestments are seen for the first time in the liturgical year after the Christmas season ends, and are connected to Epiphany.
The Christmas season ends after the celebration of the Baptism of the Lord, which occurs shortly after the feast of Epiphany. The Church introduces green vestments, which have rich symbolism.
Part of the symbolism of these vestments is tied to the celebration of Christmas and the feast of Epiphany.
Dom Prosper Gueranger explains in his Liturgical Year that “the color of the Vestments is Green. It is, say the interpreters of the Liturgy, to teach us that in the Birth of Jesus, who is the flower of the fields, we first received the hope of salvation and that after the bleak winter of heathendom and the Synagogue, there opened the verdant springtime of grace.”
Furthermore, in the 19th-century book The history, principles and practice of symbolism in Christian art, the author explains that green was also a color for the feast of Epiphany.
Though white has ordinarily been used as the liturgical color for Epiphany … more rarely green has been employed, the color of hope to symbolize the ingathering of the Gentiles that till then had been outside the fold.
At first glance, green may seem like a strange color to use after the white of Christmas, but in reality, it makes perfect sense.
Green, the color of new life, points us to the new life we experience after the birth of Jesus and how the life of grace is renewed within us during this special season.
In this way, green is intimately connected to the mystery of Christmas and the proclamation of the Gospel to the Gentiles revealed at the visit of the Magi.