We are finally here: the waiting is over, our Savior has come, and we celebrate! The season of Christmastide gives us 12 days in which to fully feast and remember the King’s birth. Here are a few suggestions for various activities and the significance of each day during Christmastide, from Full Homely Divinity. One idea is to share the true meaning of the 12 days of Christmas with friends and family. Did you know that in 16th century England, the song was used to teach children their Roman Catholic catechism in code? Read more about that history here. I designed these 12 Days of Christmas Cards with these things in mind. Use them to color yourself, or have your children color them to send to friends and family this Christmas season. You could also make them into ornaments to add to your tree. Merry Christmas, from all of us at The Homely Hours.
I came across this beautiful poem by T.S. Eliot– “The Cultivation of Christmas Trees” a few years ago. I think it is the perfect reminder of what we are aiming for in all of our Advent preparations and attempt to fully celebrate Christmastide. This is what we want for our children and for ourselves– that the “accumulated memories of annual emotion” might be “concentrated into a great joy, which shall be also a great fear.” The Cultivation of Christmas Trees There are several attitudes towards Christmas, Some of which we may disregard: The social, the torpid, the patently commercial, The rowdy (the pubs being open till midnight), And the childish — which is not that of the child For whom the candle is a star, and the gilded angel Spreading its wings at the summit of the tree Is not only a decoration, but an angel. The child wonders at the Christmas Tree: Let him continue in the spirit of wonder At the Feast as an event not accepted as a pretext; So that the …
One of the things I love about the church year is that it offers a richness of historical tradition, and numerous ways of ruminating on Truth. The “Great O” Antiphons, as they are called, are additional verses added to the singing of the Magnificat during Advent, and they each elaborate on one of the “mysterious” names of Christ from Isaiah. Others have written about the history and significance of these verses much more eloquently than I, and I encourage you to read through these and enjoy praying them in the last few days before Christmas, as we reach a crescendo, imploring Him to “Come!”. The “Great O” Antiphons: December 16th: O Sapientia O Wisdom, who didst issue out of the mouth of the most High, and dost reach from one end of the world to the other, mightily and sweetly ordering all things: Come and teach us the way of prudence. December 17th: O Adonai O Lord and ruler of the house of Israel, who didst appear to Moses in a burning bush, and didst …
Advent historically splits our vision into two focal points in time: the first coming of Christ in the manger and His second coming in glory. For some reason, this dual vision unsettles me. And, it’s probably supposed to, in the wisdom of our forbearers. We are not allowed to only rejoice in the tiny baby in the manger, but we must grapple with the reality that this is also the one who died and rose again and will come again to judge both the quick and the dead.
And, in case you need a little reminder that observing Advent includes doing what is best for your family, at this moment in your lives, here’s a hilarious post from Jennifer Fulwiler.
This year St. Nicholas and St. Lucy’s feast days fall on Sundays, which makes for a couple busy days! Use this printable crown and cards to help your children remember to let the light of Christ shine through them, as St. Lucy did.
Now as I’ve embarked upon the road of motherhood myself, I continue to find peace and consolation in Mary’s journey of motherhood and the love she had for the God-child she carried in her womb, fed with her body, and loved with all her heart and soul.