Following the theme of 'we can't control things outside ourselves,' we're needing to take a week off from the Advent Book Study of Interior Freedom and instead, we're sharing something else... The 12 Days of Christmas! Hoping that sharing this week gives you time to prepare a few 'liturgical living' activities but also gets you excited for the days following December 25th.
As Catholics, the Christmas Season doesn't actually begin until the Christmas Vigil and doesn't end till Epiphany (or if you'd rather, Candlemas on February 2nd). This is a perfect justification to be 'slow' putting the decorations away and keep listening to carols, It's being Liturgically Appropriate.
Today we're not going to discuss the symbolism of the song "12 Days of Christmas," but that's a really neat thing to read about (have a look here). Instead, we're going to use Mary Reed Newland's book "The Year and Our Children" to walk through the 12 days of Christmas. There are some fun, easy, and meaningful ways to mark the feast days we celebrate during the Christmas Season.
Following Christmas day, we celebrate the Feast of St. Stephen, the first martyr of our Church. He was one of the first deacons of the Church and gave his life in service of others. One possible activity to mark the feast day is to sing all five verses of "Good King Wenceslas," since it was on the Feast of Stephen the good king look'd out. You can find the lyrics here. Another idea is to find a way to serve or give to others, just as St. Stephen and St Wenceslas did. Gather up some toys you no longer play with to donate. Serve a meal at a soup kitchen. Make some care packages to hand out to the local homeless.
On December 27th, we celebrate the feast of St. John the Evangelist. It is a traditionally a day to bless your wine. You could ask your parish priest to do so or you can can do so at home with a simple prayer service like this. How did this become a tradition? Well, legend says St. John drank a cup of poisoned wine and did not die because he had blessed it before he drank. Some even claim the poison rose out of the glass in the form of a serpent at the words of blessing. So raise a glass to St. John's heavenly health today.
During the 12 Days of Christmas, we also celebrate the Feast of the Holy Innocents, the Feast of the Holy Family, New Year's Eve, the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, and Epiphany. We share some ideas for each of these feasts in this episode and we'd love to hear your family's traditions too! Please share here or on Facebook!
Your sisters in the small things
Nancy and Katie