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Archive for November, 2009

On Andrew

November 30 is the feast day of Andrew, fisherman and apostle. Though he is often in the shadow of brother Peter and was the odd fisherman out in the sense that he was not part of the inner, inner circle (which I often thought must have been somewhat awkward as inner group consisted of his brother and his fellow Galilean fishermen James and John), Andrew has a special distinction: he was the first disciple to acknowledge Jesus. Hence it is rather appropriate that his feast often, but not always, falls at the beginning of Advent.

“All praise, O Lord for Andrew,

The first to welcome You,

Whose witness to his brother

Named you Messiah true.

May we, with hearts kept open

To you throughout the year,

Coness to friend and neighbor

Your advent ever near.”

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Happy New Year

What better time to launch a new blog about celebrating the Christian church year? Today is the first day of the Christian year, which begins with the Advent season. This is the time in which we anticipate the coming of Christ into the world — past, present and future. We remember Jesus’ humble birth in Bethlehem two thousand years ago. We give thanks for His present and continual coming to us through Word and Sacrament. And we look forward with hope and longing to His second coming in glory to judge the living and the dead on the Last Day.

Advent is also that portion of the Christian calendar that puts us most directly at odds with secular society. Liturgical Christians are (supposed to be) in a period of confession and repentance, prayer, fasting, immersion in Scripture, and singing of the O Antiphons and other seasonal hymns. Everyone else is in a frenzied period of shopping, parties and general stress. We begin the Christmas season on Christmas while most everyone else wraps it up that day. So this period of time can be a challenge.

My oldest daughter is two, which means she’s beginning to understand anticipation. To help her prepare for Christmas Day, I ordered a handmade Advent calendar from Etsy seller DabberDoo. While I wait for it, I also picked up the calendar pictured above from my favorite local kitchen store.

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My days are numbered

Jennifer did such a good job introducing this blog that I have very little to add. You may have noticed that she kept writing in the first person plural. This was not nosism but an acknowledgment that there are two of us here. So I’m Mollie, and I’m a liturgical Christian (“Hello, Mollie”). I live in Washington, D.C. I’m a writer and I have a wonderful husband and two dear children.

The genesis of this blog really goes back several years when Jennifer and I were working together at an academic research outfit. Every few days, Jennifer would bring in the world’s most amazing cookies and breads. I soon learned that she was a liturgical baker. She was making food to commemorate particular Christians throughout history and to celebrate festivals and seasons throughout the year. So she’s beautiful, brilliant, bakes like a boss, and has the dryest sense of humor around. What’s not to love?

I have no baking skills. Or very limited ones, at least. But hey, we can’t all make the perfect St. Lucia lussekatter or whatever it is that Jennifer does. That’s why it’s good that bringing the liturgical calendar into the home isn’t just about baking. It’s about prayer, home decorations, activities for children, fasting and more.

My own motivation for doing this blog is to help me with planning. I grew up in a pastor’s family and my parents did a great job of celebrating the church year at home. Now that I’m a parent, I’d like to do a better job of marking holy days and seasons with my children.

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Perhaps you’ve heard of this thing called… Advent.

No not you, the Hermione Granger type shooting your hand up in the air going, “Ooh! Ooh!” Yes, I know YOU know about Advent. I love you. Heck, I AM you. I want you to come back here early and often and get your liturgical fundamentalist on, but this blog is not really for you.

It’s for you. You there, sitting in the back keeping your hand down and thinking, “I’ve never heard of Advent” or “Isn’t that what the new minister mentioned the other day? It’s strange. It apparently comes before Christmas and is a WHOLE SEPARATE SEASON. Weird. Doesn’t the Christmas season start on November 27th?…but it sounds nice, restful even. Definitely not like last Christmas season where by December 24 I mentally auto da fed half of the population on a blazing pyre of candy canes. “

Yes, you: this blog is for you. We want to introduce you to joys and the agonies of celebrating the Christian year. We’re not going to want you to recreate the manger scene in recycled margarine tubs. We’re not going to suggest that you embroider napkins with the life of Jesus. We’re not going to tell you that you have to pretend you’re cooking for Jesus when it’s 6 PM your family is banging on the table and you have a bag of slightly aged iceberg lettuce, a can of tuna, and half a box of mac and cheese on hand. I will urge you to make bread and talk up shaped cookies, because hey, every girl has her weaknesses, but those are just my predilections. We want you to discover yours.

We want you to discover what a blast it can be to celebrate the Christian year, the liturgical year and any Christian can celebrate it: if you have kids or if you don’t have kids, if you’re married or single…it doesn’t matter. Whoever you are this year is for you. We’ll make suggestions, give some tips, and pass on a bit of history. I’ll prose incessantly from time to time. But mostly we’re here to have fun and express what a blessing and joy the liturgical year is to us.

We hope it will become so for you too.

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