Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Winter Saints

This December cluster of saints' days, Nicholas on 12/6, Guadalupe on 12/12, Lucia on 12/13 and also Immaculate Conception on 12/8: I find it hard to feel like we've appreciated them all equally. They are so close together and two of them are Marian and only four days apart.

My dining room sideboard this year.
We have gotten pretty good about St. Nicholas day since we started the shoes tradition when the oldest was little.
This tradition started for us in German preschool. The apple, orange, chocolate, nuts, peppermint stick and a small present are exchanged for the letters to St. Nick found in their clean shoes. 
Immaculate Conception is one of my daughter's birthdays, so it has always involved both going to Mass and a birthday party for us.
Always a birthday princess.
December 8
The Immaculate Conception of Mary
Our Lady of Guadalupe, over the years, has come to mean a day to show appreciation for our local Hispanic community, honoring their devotion to Mary, participating in the festivities.

Our parish church in 2008. So pretty with the trees and roses.
St. Lucia though, the observance of this day has been eluding us, despite the many years of reading picture books written about her.
Picture Books and Kids: things I have more of than the average American woman.
I have been learning about the Ember Days for a few years now and the winter ember days are set to follow after St. Lucy. So this year, they will be Wednesday, 12/17, Friday 12/19, and Saturday, 12/20.
So far, we've never managed to get up at before dawn to serve saffron buns.
But one year we made Pillsbury orange rolls from a can. 
I am thinking of St. Lucy with her candle crown as our guide into the second half of Advent, the ember days of preparation, repentance, confession, before Gaudete Sunday.

St. Lucy and Star Boy surrounded by lazy non-sprouting lentils that were supposed to be making a nice green field of Christmas manger hay.
We are not a family of Italian, Sicilian or Scandinavian heritage, but Lucy lights the way toward Christmas for us also.

The winter sun.

The stars we bring inside.

Leading us to the manger.

Leading us to the Baby.

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