All posts filed under: Season

The Week of Epiphany

Collect: O God, who by the leading of a star didst manifest thine only-begotten Son to the Gentiles; Mercifully grant that we, who know thee now by faith, may after this life have the fruition of thy glorious Godhead; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Feasts and Saints Sunday, January 6: The Epiphany, or the Manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles The Feast of the Epiphany is the culmination after the Twelve Days of Christmas. On this day, we remember several events that “manifest” the glories of Christ’s divinity through his humanity: (1) the coming of the magi to worship Jesus, (2) Christ’s baptism in the Jordan River, and (3) the first miracle when Jesus turns water to wine at the wedding in Cana. This article, an excerpt from Elsa Chaney’s book The Twelve Days of Christmas (1955), is a beautiful explanation of why Epiphany is so important. She states: Unless we realize the significance of this great day, we see only one side of the mystery of the Incarnation. Now after contemplating the …

Why We Love Christmas Music

In my Advent Hymns and Carols post, I suggested that one way to keep Advent is to save up the Christmas carols (as much as possible) until Christmastide. But, I do understand why someone would want to start listening to Christmas carols right after Halloween. I sympathize with all the Christmas music over-eagerness. It’s because Christmas music is made to last and it’s made to be shared. It’s because in modern America, Christmas music is really the only folk music tradition that we still treasure on a large scale. And that is our loss. Folk music is music that is passed down from generation to generation, music that is shared and interpreted, while still keeping a recognizable integrity. At Christmastime, instead of constant novelty in music, we delight in the familiarity of the old — “Silent Night,” “Carol of the Bells,” “Joy to the World,” “White Christmas.”  We enjoy hearing musicians interpret a song within a tradition, within a conversation — it’s just “new enough.” At Christmas, we share music with those who are completely …

Keeping Advent: Some Daily Practices

As we prepare for Advent beginning on December 2, I thought I would post the resources that we have available on this site for daily Advent prayer and Scripture reading. Advent Wreath: If you do nothing else for Advent, buy an Advent wreath and candles.* We use this prayer and Scripture reading booklet from our church every year. We light the candles before we start to eat dinner and then follow the readings and prayers. Jesus/Jesse Tree So many great Jesse Tree options are out there, but I do think these Scandinavian style ornaments Bley painted to correspond with Rachel Chaney’s Jesus Tree are especially lovely. Because my family already has a morning prayer routine going, we aren’t going to follow her whole devotional. Instead, I’ve put together this list of Scriptures to correspond with the ornaments (all free for your use). We’ll read the Scripture and hang the ornament before we go into our normal morning prayer. O Antiphons: If you’re following the Advent Wreath Booklet, you’ll see that it also includes prayers for the Great O …

The 23rd Week After Trinity

Collect: O God, our refuge and strength, who art the author of all godliness; be ready, we beseech thee, to hear the devout prayers of thy Church; and grant that those things which we ask faithfully we may obtain effectually; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. Saint’s Days: Wednesday, November 7: Willibrord Born around 668 in Yorkshire, at six years old, Willibrord was placed in the care of Saint Wilfrid, abbot of the Monastery of Ripon, to be raised as a Benedictine monk. After studying at the renowned schools of Ireland for 12 years, when he was around 30, Willibrord obtained permission to serve as a missionary in Frisia (present-day Holland). The duke of Frisia, Pepin of Herstal was already a Christian and welcomed Willibrord and his companions. After around six years, most of Pepin’s subjects had converted to Christ. At that time, Willibrord was summoned to Pope Sergius in Rome, who changed his religious name to “Clement” and ordained him Archbishop of Frisia. He founded many churches, for he was committed not just to …

The 20th Sunday After Trinity

Collect: “O Almighty and most merciful God, of thy bountiful goodness keep us, we beseech thee, from all things that may hurt us that we, being ready both in body and soul, may cheerfully accomplish those things which thou commandest; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.” Saints Days: Sunday, October 14: Samuel Isaac Joseph Schereschewsky Born a Lithuanian Jew in 1831, Samuel Isaac Joseph Schereschewsky began his education studying to be a rabbi. While at Rabbinical college, he came across a Christian New Testament translated into Hebrew, which made him begin questioning whether Jesus could be the fulfillment of the Hebrew Scriptures. While studying in Germany, he visited a cathedral and saw the crucifix shining with light and glory. Six months later, he immigrated to the United States and professed Christ. He was baptized by Baptists and then, went to Presbyterian Seminary. But since he could not accept the Calvinist doctrine of predestination, he was ordained in the Episcopal Church. He then accepted a call for missionaries in China and reluctantly was appointed the bishop of …

The 17th Week After Trinity

Collect: Lord, we pray thee that thy grace may always both precede and follow us, and make us continually to be given to all good works; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. Saints & Feast Days: September 24 (Transferred): St. Theodore of Tarsus Born in 602, St. Theodore was from Tarsus (St. Paul’s home as well) and educated in Tarsus and Athens. At 66 years old, he was an Eastern monk living in Rome, still a layman. Out of need (England had been devastated by the plague) he was appointed the seventh Archbishop of Canterbury, skipping the usual progression of priestly office. He was loved and respected as archbishop– bringing into order many issues with a no-nonsense approach. The Venerable Bede reflected, “Theodore was the first archbishop whom the entire Church of the English consented to obey. . . Never had there been such happy times as these since the English settled in Britain; for the Christian kings were so strong that they daunted all the barbarous tribes. The people eagerly sought the new-found joys of …

Michaelmas is on Friday!

Last year, we put together a few great posts to give your family simple traditions and ideas for celebrating Michaelmas. Courtesy of Phil James, here is a fantastic booklet that he wrote of his family’s Michaelmas traditions. Be sure to read our interview with him and download the booket on preparing for Michaelmas with your children: They already know that there are things present, which no eye can see. We don’t have to teach our children that the world is really (really) enchanted, personal and meaningful. We simply need to preserve what they know to be true. Of course after climbing out of the hole dug for us by Modernity, it is a great and necessary blessing to teach them of the one who makes it true. In our society Mom and Dad purposefully setting aside an evening to affirm their own belief in angels is about as odd as it gets. Hard to think of a better endorsement than that. Dragon Bread for Michaelmas Here is Bley’s post on how her family celebrates this day. …

Make Room: A Child’s Guide to Lent and Easter

As we prepare for Lent this year, I’m thankful to own a great new resource — Make Room: A Child’s Guide to Lent and Easter by Laura Alary (a very thoughtful gift to my daughter from her godparents). In the book, Alary sets out a map for Lent, explaining in simple but lovely prose that Lent is for “making time,” “making space,” and “making room” for the kingdom of God in our everyday lives. She connects the seasonal rhythms of the natural world and the liturgical rhythms of the church calendar. The illustrations by Ann Boyajian are subtle and evocative, very appropriate to the subject matter. I’m going to use this book as a guide to our Lenten journey, planning to incorporate the practices and traditions that Alary mentions: Lenten Candles Making Pretzels (I didn’t know this fascinating background!) Spring cleaning (i.e. “make space” in the house) Plant a Easter Garden Eat plain meals and cook with strict limits Be hospitable I’m hopeful that reading this book often and using it as a map will help our 3 year old …

Preparing for Advent: Jesus Tree Ornaments

If you’re looking for a great way to celebrate Advent, here is one of our favorite first posts, with Bley’s beautiful Jesus Tree Ornaments. 2018 Edit: If you’d just like Scripture readings rather than using the full Jesus Tree devotional, here you go. For the past few years, we have been trying to keep a quiet Advent, and one way we do this is by using a Jesus Tree devotional.  A lovely friend recommended the Jesus Tree Devotional by Rachel Chaney, which is based on The Jesus Storybook Bible.  It has proven to be an easy and meaningful way for us to keep our focus on the spirit of Advent, and build up to the celebration of Christmas.  The devotional itself is straightforward and easy to use: there is a symbol with corresponding Bible text for days 1-25 of December, and then a script/story that you read aloud to your children.  A traditional hymn follows to sing, and there is an ornament that you can cut out and color with your children.  The thing I love about this …

What are the Ember Days?

The Michaelmas Ember Days are  Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. In this post, we give an overview to the background of the Ember Days as well as their purpose (If you don’t have time to read anything else, do scroll down to the bottom of the post and read the poem Autumn Inaugural by Dana Gioia; it is rather perfect for these days). What are the Ember Days? The Ember Days are set aside by the Church as a way to mark the passage of seasons through prayer and fasting.  As you may suspect, this happens four times a year: in winter, after the feast of St. Lucy; in spring, after Ash Wednesday; in summer, after Pentecost Sunday; and in fall, after Holy Cross Day. An old English rhyme states: “Fasting days and Emberings be / Lent, Whitsun, Holyrood, and Lucie.” In Latin, these days are called Quatour Tempora (Four Times). The word “Ember Days” is from the Anglo-Saxon ymbren, a circuit or revolution (from ymb, around, and ryne, a course, running). Folk etymology claims that the source of “ember” comes …