So, it’s me. Marcy. Did you forget me? I promise I did not forget about you! It has been terribly busy around here. Between homeschooling the kids, running TWO at home businesses, contemplating starting with a third (craft related), and trying to keep house, go on play dates, make meals, and participate in holiday fun, I haven’t had tons of time.
But Advent is here! I am always inevitably MORE busy than I want to be during Advent, but we still make time for some great traditions, and usually add a new one. This year, although we’re no doing the Jesse tree (mostly because I didn’t get the stuff out until already a week of Advent had passed…) we are using the Advent Calendar that my mom, brother, and sister made back when we were homeschooling. I LOVE it. Each day the kids pull out a new figure or symbol to stick on the calendar and written on a small scrap of paper is a relevant Bible verse.
This year, for something new, I pulled together as many story books as I could that relate to 1) OT Bible stories that point to Jesus (all of them?), 2) Nativity stories, 3) Christmas stories, 4) winter stories, and 5) any stories that I particularly wanted to revisit with the kids. I had to stretch a little, hoping for a total of 24 to take us all the way to Christmas. We got a few from the library and ordered a few as St. Nicholas Day presents, so we may be right about at the 24 mark! There are some new and old favorites on our list:
From Tomie DePaola: The Lady of Guadalupe, Tony’s Bread, The Legend of Old Befana, The Night of Las Posadas, and the Clown of God. Almost all of these can be found on Amazon for decent prices, although the library is a great way to experience them first and pick your favorites. I think DePaola loved Christmas and old stories. His illustrations are so beautiful. I’ve wept after reading several of his books. Especially The Clown of God. But also (oddly enough) The Legend of Old Befana. We will revisit this story again for Epiphany since her story takes place when the Three Wise Kings take gifts to Jesus.
Other books: The Baker’s Dozen by Heather Forest, Brigid’s Cloak by Bryce Milligan, The Weight o a Mass: A Tale of Faith by Josephine Nobisso (Not really Christmas, but wintry? And baked goods? and Mass? Ok!), On the Night You Were Born by Nancy Tillman (Also not Christmas, but since Christmas is all about Jesus’ birthday, it seemed like a good idea to read about babies being born. The illustrations and text are just absolutely beautiful!), The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams (since it starts at Christmas), The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree by Gloria Houston, and The Glorious Impossible by Madeline L’Engle.
What I’ve Read Lately That’s Worth Reading:
A peace offering, since I have been absent. Some things that are wonderful and worth reading (or just good information)…
A friend of mine (IRL!) wrote this beautiful piece right around the beginning on November. If you don’t read anything else that I link to, at least read this one on death and donuts!
Another in-real-life friend from back in the day has been posting at The Catholic Gentleman. And his posts have been superb! Here are a few that I loved on Fatherhood and the practice of wearing Chapel Veils.
I just finished reading Kristen Lavransdatter! I think it may possibly be the most important piece of fiction I ever read. (There will be a post or three upcoming!) Until I have a chance to process everything and write what I’d like to write on that, enjoy these words from First Things on KL and motherhood.
Since we just celebrated the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, here is a nice, concise explanation of Catholic belief. I have often thought how fitting it is that Mary should be saved from sin before ever actually committing a sin, because she was to contain within her body the Most Holy God of the Universe! Similar to the Ark of the Covenant and the great care/instruction that was given by God to prepare that vessel to contain the manna, Mary was carefully crafted in the womb of her mother to be a fit vessel for the Bread from Heaven: Jesus.
Finally, you know I am a convert to Catholicism. Occasionally family and friends will voice concerns about us and Catholic practices. Recently there was some discussion of our practice of praying to the saints. The objections were that the Bible forbids speaking to the dead, and also, that there is only one Mediator between God and man, which is Jesus. Also, was the objection that the dead are dead. They can’t hear us.
So, here are some brief thoughts and some articles if you care to read further (if you happen to want to know why we believe what we do): First, the Bible forbids superstitious consulting of the dead about the future or about other matters. The practice of asking the saints to intercede for us to God is quite different, and more similar to asking a friend to pray for a matter on your behalf. Second, we agree that there is One Mediator between God and Man. Just as this does not create a hindrance in our asking our friends to pray for us, it does not create a hindrance to us asking the saints to pray for us. Third, Catholics believe that those who are saved by Jesus and are part of His Church are made alive in Him and are part of the communion of saints. The Bible speaks of the church as a body (with Christ as head), and this body moves, and lives, and operates as one unit. Because we believe that the Christians who have gone on to heaven before us are still alive in Christ, we are not separated from them by death in the same way that we are from those who are not in Christ. We and they are still living parts of Christ’s body and we still share in the communion of saints.