Title: Let us Keep the Feast: Living the Church Year at Home Epiphany and Lent
Authors: Anna Moseley Gissing & Cate MacDonald
Page Count: 48
Price Range: $4.99 – $9.95
Now available in print, ePub, Mobi/Kindle, and PDF formats.
As Tiffany notes, these are small but wonderful little books that discuss a particular portion of the liturgical year from a Christian perspective (this includes Catholic as well as some Protestant traditions). Epiphany was always celebrated to some degree by my Aunt and cousins. The would put some grass and carrots in a shoe box and keep it under their bed. At the time, I was very young and of course, jealous that they did something different, something special and wholly religious! Not to mention, it ended with more gifts on January 6 for Día de los Reyes (The Day of Kings). Now, I can, with the help of this second installment in the series, understand, appreciate and include these traditions in my home!
Let’s get started – as this is a twofold post (the first focusing on Epiphany and the latter, and my favorite, Lent!)
In between the stories of Christmas and Easter, the gospels tell us of Jesus’ earthly life and ministry. Epiphany is a fitting time to reflect on this life. Jesus wasn’t just born and then crucified. In this season, we reflect on the “meantime”. (p. 4)
How do we reflect upon that with tradition? How do we make these reflections tangible for the family? Food, of course!
King Cake (there’s even a recipe in here for that!), and not to be outdone from the last installment, there is a warm drink called Lamb’s Wool (not in the book, but not to worry, I included a link below for you!
On a more symbolic note, the book suggests that with your nativity scene in the home, allow the children to carry the Magi to the manger (as during Christmastide, they were getting closer to Jesus each day. Read the story of the Magi from Matthew 2 and talk to your children about how they were guided, make it real for them. They are being guided too.
Referencing my opening to this post, this book captures a quick how – to integration in it’s Around the World section where they note how children receive presents on Epiphany instead of Christmas day. I appreciate the authors’ inclusion of other cultures in this section. If you can’t travel to these locales, perhaps this is a great way to bring them to you.
Finally, I felt that this suggestion for action outside of the home stood out and is something we can incorporate well beyond Epiphany:
Pray for your neighbors who do not know Jesus. Pray for opportunities to engage them with the good news of Jesus and also for opportunities to serve them in the coming months. (p. 18)
So here’s what I underlined, right off the bat on the very first page of this section – as it bears repeating here:
Lent is the longest and most rigorous fast in the church year, and is meant to prepare the church body for the great feast of Easter, through a period of sobriety, generosity, and self-denial.
Lent also echoes the larger truth of Christian life: that there are times when we will experience hardship and suffering, spiritual winters, and extended darkness. (p.25)
I actually underlined more, but you’ll just have to win the book, or purchase it to get the rest of that nugget!
How wonderful, that the book outlines where the 40 days of Lent can be found ( Matthew 4:1-11, Luke 4:1-13, and Mark 1:12-13) Another suggestion for scripture, Psalm 51 – as “and acknowledgement of sin and pain, coupled with a request that God would make all things better” (p. 26).
Within the calendar section of the book, there is a focus on St. Joseph (feast day March 19th) that I think is important to reflect upon, and Pope Francis does too as his name is now spoken at each mass.
I will say, that there is a mention of a different take on Lent and what to “give up” that Tiffany notes in her review (linked below) – where detachment is key. I have begun my Lenten fasting early and it wasn’t necessarily on purpose. #nosocialmediasunday is something that I am choosing to incorporate in my life, through Lent and beyond. This practice of detaching from the world and focusing on the one that God created specifically for me (my husband and children) will reap fruit beyond measure. Besides, who doesn’t want to keep the Sabbath! It’s only the third commandment!
This section was heavily underlined, dear friends and I am glad of it. I look forward to Lent each year and am including this book along with two others – that I will share reflections from throughout this season.
Get thee this book by hook or by crook! What are you looking forward to this Lent? Any ideas, ruminations or reflections?
Comment below about it and win this copy! Starts now and Ends at 12:00PM on ET 2/7/2014
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 Lentenism? Totally made that up. But it’s so scrumtrulescent!