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Title: Let us Keep the Feast: Living the Church Year at Home Advent and Christmas
Authors: (see below for the contributors)
Page Count: 60
Price Range: $.99 – $9.95
I don’t even know where to begin with this review because I have so much to say. I have been mulling this over like a cup of St. John’s love. (Don’t worry, I’ll explain and give you the recipe) How about with the first thing I have underlined in this book?
Christians developed seasonal devotional practices that helped remind God’s people of God’s mercies.
It’s with this first page, where the tone is set. I am a new Catholic (three years – how long can I keep the “new” moniker?) and don’t the same warm luxury of knowing many traditions like my wonderful cradle Catholic companions. With children of my own and my need to share this blessed time in the Liturgical Year with them, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this book. I was given the opportunity to review Let us Keep the Feast: Living the Church Year at Home Advent and Christmas by Michelle over at Liturgical Time. I love working with her. When she asked if I would like to review, I jumped in with both feet. I also thought this would be a great way to get to know her better.
Michelle, is a Christian. Specifically, an Anglo-Catholic. What’s that mean? Well, it means I need to know because I am a research and understanding junkie. I asked her specifically, if there was anything she would like to point me to as a resource for others to know what she practiced and believed. She has a post, Are we, at Liturgical Time, Catholic? Apparently, this is a HUGE issue, much like whether or not one should veil. I digress. She did implore that although Anglo-Catholics prefer to minimize them, there are doctrinal differences between Roman Catholicism and Anglicanism. For those of you that would like to know, please head over.
As for the rest of my loverlies, regardless of where or what she is, she, is honest and full of faith. With that, I would like to share how this darling book, which I will *giveaway*, has made my Roman Catholic household all the warmer. First, it is pointed out that there is room to do all of this imperfectly, which I love, because I highlighted quite a bit to incorporate into my traditions (next year – because I am imperfect!)
St. Nicholas’ feast day is celebrated by many, but not here in my home. We have Santa, Three Kings, a Jesse Tree, an Advent Wreath and that’s about it. With this book, I was able to learn about the feast day, it’s importance and understand that:
in reality, St. Nicholas was not just a “nice” old saint. he was a major fighter of the Arian heresy in the fourth century, and was a key part of the Council of Nicea. Tradition claims that at one point, he was so sickened by the heresy that Arius (the founder of Ariansim) was speaking that he stood and stuck Arius across the mouth (p.10)
My kinda saint! Next year, shoes are out with hay and carrots for the children to get knocked out by a one-two punch of chocolate coins from St. Nick, I can assure you!
Let’s talk Antiphons bweeps (“blog peeps” – yes, Lexicon made that one up for you too). O Antiphons! How I had no idea what you were until this book. Granted, afterwards, I did more research and use the reflections from my Advent Magnificat Companion that Tiffany gave me!
As an alternative to Advent O Antiphons, some people take hymns from their church’s hymnal and mull over the different verses individually. Little children love to sing as well; if it’s an option, singing along to familiar Advent songs such as “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” is a great way to help the young understand Advent’s concepts. (p. 12 – yes, we’re just at p. 12!)
At the end of this Advent section, all of the Antiphons are listed to pray, along with this special prayer for the third week of Advent (which I highlighted to write in this post, but forgot!)
Now when the word *young* is used, I am going to take a little liberty and say that it can also be for those young in their faith journey! I love the unspoken Lectio Divina concept here, don’t you? I especially love that this book shows me a creative way to get my children in on the Lectio Divina action with me.
The book also suggests learning and memorizing The Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55) and the Song of Zechariah (Luke 1:68-79)- which if you pray the Liturgy of the Hours, you’re almost there!
Let’s move to the Christmas section, shall we? I don’t like to leave Advent so soon either. But, we must…
The first line I highlighted, needs to stand alone, needs to be shared with you, because it is truly so profound and simple in its brevity:
Christmas is the “Christ-Mass.”
I use the word Christmas all the time, my children do, we say it in passing, in cards and on gift tags, over the phone and in email. But do we really hear what we are saying? Thank you Michelle for this, the first page of the section. Again, the tone is set so beautifully for what’s to come.
I thought I knew Christmas. You know? My old friend from youth. If I could make a buzzer sound go off here, you would be hearing it.
There’s St. Stephen’s Day on December 26, the feast of St. John the Apostle on December 27th (red mantilla at the ready!), the feast of the Holy Innocents on December 28, and the feast of the Holy Name of Jesus on January 3. I knew about these days sure, but not what to do with them. How to live them in my home.
My favorites from this section are bountiful. This could turn into a series. I will do my best to pick from the golden eggs.
- A Progressive Nativity – this is where the Magi slowly progress to the Nativity scene and don’t reach their destination until Epiphany! How simply astounding!
- A tiny votive light kept burning next to Mary in the crèche throughout Advent. As the Christ candle is lit on the Advent wreath, the tiny light next to Mary may be extinguished.
He must increase, but I must decrease.
Finally, and as promised, your recipe – yes, this book includes recipes! It’s really quite the manual.
1 warm bottle of red wine over the stove
2-3 whole cloves
2-3 cinnamon sticks
1-2 cardamom seeds
1/4-1/2 tsp nutmeg
sugar to taste
Boil for 4-6 minutes. Strain out the spices and serve while hot, wearing a red mantilla. Ok, ok, so I added that last bit.
There is so much here, so very much! I usually give away my copy, the one that I’ve highlighted and ear marked so we can read together. I can’t. I can give you a new one though!
Now what are you waiting for? Get yourself one or take your chances by *commenting here* on which of these new traditions (for me and my family you think you’d like to incorporate!)
If you use the discount code “LUKTFBlogTour” at checkout from their eStore, you will get a 15% discount on any version.
The book is written by the following wonderful women:
Brava ladies! You bet your mulled wine I am reviewing the next in the series, Epiphany and Lent. You can learn more about all of the books in the series at this link www.keepthefeast.net
Get thee this book by hook or by crook!
Don’t forget to comment and win this copy!
Starts now and Ends on 11:59PM 12/20/2013 and I will announce on 12/20 and ship – or I won’t be able to ship until the New Year.
And if you’ve read this far…head over and read Tiffany’s review – she’s hosting a giveaway of the book too. Don’t you love Catholic Advent-erosity? Totally made that up. But it’s so scrumtrulescent!