in , , , , , by sarahmfry, March 25, 2010

"Put something where you can see it so your eye will remind your heart." 
Martha Zimmerman, Celebrating the Christian Year 

I've been some time brainstorming and planning for some special days ahead:  The First Day of Spring, Palm Sunday & Holy Week -  Passover,  Good Friday, Holy Saturday & Resurrection Sunday. 

Celebrating special days of the Christian Calendar has long been a joy for us, but it varies greatly from year to year what we get around to.

Why celebrate?  Why go to the trouble? 
  • It's fun, for one thing.  It creates memory glue for our children and our family. It gives me a reminder to do something extra - something special outside of the everyday.
  • It helps us (adults AND kids) to remember the Christian Calendar - Special days that remind us to keep Christ as the center of our home and our year and our days.
  • It is a learning opportunity.  A chance to share with our kids in new ways about the Bible, History & what serving and Loving God means for us. 
  • It is a means of worship - learning & remembering what He has done.  Seeing and savoring what He has given us.
Some days we do nothing but the ordinary.  Other times, we do something small like add green food coloring to things on St. Patrick's day and talking a little about his ministry.  Other days/years, we do something extra special.  This is not a matter at all of guilt or drivennenss or a requirement whatsoever for being a "good mom."   It is just a collection of fun, meaningful and valuable ideas to add in here and there over the years if it's something your family enjoys.

One of the earliest resources we started using was Martha Zimmerman's fantastic book:  Celebrating the Christian Year.  With background information & current facts about the major Christian Holidays as well as ideas for celebrating that range from blessedly simple to the more exhaustingly elaborate.  She suggests that we "put something before our eyes to remind our hearts."

Another source of formation for us was one of David's seminary teachers.  I was able to attend a class with him and many of the ideas became building blocks that have shaped much of our parenting.  We have never forgotten his advice to NOT overdo it on the celebrating.  He shared that their family got to the place in their practice of Celebrating the Biblical Feasts that it seemed they were serving the feasts, not the feasts serving them.   We took that advice to heart and have just let the celebrations come as they will.

Ann Voskamp @ aholyexperience often has brilliant, thought-provoking ideas for recognizing and worshiping the Special Days.

And of course, there's always Google and the web.  Ah, what would I do without google?  Want the recipe for empty tomb buns?  Google it!  Want to find a cheap mold for white chocolate resurrection crosses?  Amazon search. 

I don't get around to a lot of the things I think about doing, and it seems I've been doing less and less of these kinds of things lately as our house fills with more kids.  But I'm okay with that.  I think the planning and thinking helps me to at least be more mindful of the season so that I can talk to the kids about it as we go about life.  Here's a little of my current brainstorming: (Many ideas from Zimmerman.)

  • Continue listening to & reading Passion Hymns for a Kid's Heart so kids will learn hymns well

  • I want to build a new cross for inside and one for outside (The old one was old and got tossed)...where to find the wood?

  • Need to pull out my Easter Decorations:  crown of thorns,  colored cloths to represent the days, Cross, etc.

  • First day of Spring - This Saturday, 3/20 - Fresh flowers for the house, Nature walk, Pink spring cake for Sunday Dessert.  Use this day to celebrate the beginning of our spring break

  • Palm Sunday - 3/28 - Hoping our church will have fresh, live palm branches again.  Day of celebration - white table cloth, candles, beauty. Last year for dessert we made a bundt cake and decorated it like a King's Crown (well, sortof).

  • Passover Eve (on Maundy Thursday or another convenient night) - Have a simple family passover meal  for supper- with new dishes & candle light. (I've never done this!  I need to do more reading & purchase some food items.)

  • Good Friday 4/2 - Attend Easter Cantata?

  • Holy Saturday 4/3 - need to read up on Zimmerman - a day of quiet waiting with things draped in black?  Maybe just a black cloth on table for us. New litter of puppies due!  Talk to kids about new life.

  • Resurrection Day 4/4 -  Try making Empty Tomb Buns! Worship at our church, dinner with family.  I don't have elaborate plans....buns for breakfast, candles on the table, hymns in the speakers.  I'm just hoping to make our home as peaceful and happy and worship-full as I can on that day.

  • On my wish list! Just discovered this book: expensive, but wow!

  • So much to learn about Biblical Holidays over at Heart of Wisdom

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