I learned the importance of celebrating holidays in our own environment from my mother-in-law. Dating my to-be husband in high school, I was always pleasantly surprised how their house was always decorated to match the holidays! Doing so really created a sense of the season and excitement over whatever was coming or being celebrated.This practice of decorating is one of my favorite “lessons” from the Huemmer family.
As adults, time can really slip away from us. Without semesters to gauge the passage of time all we have is the weather – hot and hotter – or maybe our commute – the somewhat-peaceful-commute and the angst-filled-UT-is-in-session commute.
Time passes, life passes, and without celebrating holidays and other important days, the days can seem strung together unceasingly and without note. Luckily as Catholic Christians – we are always celebrating and we’re always in a season.
Cardinal Dolan of New York, in my opinion one of the most intelligent, witty, humorous, leaders of the church, recently got on twitter, and one of his early tweets was that “St Therese of Lisieux reminds us that doing the ordinary things of life extraordinarily well, for the glory of God, is the path to sanctity.” Why not decorate our living space with seasonal reminders of the life of the Church, where we celebrate the gift of life given to and for us?
Advent and Christmas are easy liturgical seasons to celebrate and prepare for in our homes. Even Lent and Easter are fairly simple to work in. A year or two ago we purchased a Lenten Cross with candles to light for every week of Lent from Regina Mater school here in Austin. I chose to “upgrade” and also get the Easter season set. Having the set has been great – especially for Easter! Like Christmas – it is easy to anticipate the celebration of Easter – maybe easier since there are no presents to buy and making a sacrifice! But like Christmas, it’s also tempting to celebrate for a day or two and then go back to normal. Having a prayer and candle for every week is a reminder that Easter is a multi-week celebration not a one day deal. As added reminders we also leave some of our Cadbury Easter eggs in their hiding spots to remind us of the season.
With Lent and Easter now finished, we have a chance to be imaginative and celebrate ordinary time…extraordinarily! Maybe you can incorporate your favorite crosses or religious images with members of family for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and the Fourth of July. An American flag with a crucifix is another great way to celebrate Independence Day and Memorial day – reminding us that Jesus is the perfect model of what it takes to give life up for others and save them from the ultimate peril.
Keep a wildflower (or even weed-flower) bouquet around as a reminder of God’s creation and its survival – even in our hot summers! Be sure and find your baptism day and put it on the calendar to celebrate as a special “birth” day!
One of my other favorite tweets by Cardinal Dolan is that “Religion at its best does not impose. It proposes. And calls us to greatness.” This is an ideal to live up to – to have our lives propose to the world a new, counter-cultural way to find love, happiness, and peace from the source of all that is good. Our homes can also incorporate this call – proposing our faith to our guests and reminding us that in all things and all time, God is here and working in us.
Now to find some cool tongues-of-fire decor for Pentecost next year….
How do you keep the seasons celebrated in your home?
As a tribute to my mother-in-law’s dedication to keeping the home peaceful and in season for her family-here’s video with two renditions of Mary’s Magnificat – which is in today’s Gospel.