The first thing on my radar for this past week was something that I hope will become a new and awesome Porter Family Advent Tradition. November 30th was the Feast of St Andrew and there is a beautiful Christmas novena attached to his feast day. Technically a novena is a 9 days prayer, whereas this Christmas Novena is supposed to be said 15 times a day between now and Christmas, but it’s a relatively simple way to change our daily prayers to reflect the season. In the Perfect World we would be rocking this Novena. In actual fact, I don’t have it memorised which makes it a lot harder to say 15 times a day. Work’s been crazy busy as the holiday season is the busiest time of year so even my plans of saying the prayer at my desk have been scuppered because I’m running around so much. But I’m saying it at least once a day, most of the time with the children, and that’s a good start. It really is a beautiful prayer:
Hail and blessed be the hour and moment in which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in piercing cold. In that hour, vouchsafe, O my God! to hear my prayer and grant my desires, through the merits of Our Saviour Jesus Christ, and of His Blessed Mother. Amen.
The next thing on my radar is the Feast of St Nikolas. St Nikolas, better known as Santa Claus, is a pretty hardcore 4th century saint who happens to be the patron saint of children and who, in popular traditions around the world, secretly gives gifts to them on his feast day (often leaving them in their shoes). Coming from an anti-Santa household, this has been a good way to reintroduce the tradition into my own family. I’m pro-Santa, by the way, but I like celebrating this feast as a way of introducing my children to the historical Santa. And this year it is awesome, because his feast day falls on a day which just happens to be the day we had already planned to go to Metrotown to get our pictures with Santa. I'm so pleased with this that I might just make it our normal Santa-photo day, assuming work schedules can jive with Santa schedules in the coming years.
|Walter's face! This was taken at the precise moment he learned that he couldn't open his present until we'd taken a photo AND he'd have to sit next to his sister. She's being wary because...punches.|
|They're actually happy here, but Emily just plain refuses to smile for the camera.|
If I am being cheeky I will tell you that a baby dedication is an Anabaptist response to infant Baptism, although that is not really accurate because there are too many theological differences to draw a true parallel. Suffice to say it is an opportunity for parents and their church community to dedicate their baby to God and to dedicate themselves to helping to raise the child in their faith. My brother and I were both dedicated when we were babies. As an aside, I remember my brother’s dedication being A Big Deal. My dad’s parents came all the way from Abbotsford (and I’m pretty sure that my Großmutter must have been ill with leukemia at the time) and I seem to remember mum being very excited over his blue velvet(?) romper and wandering around the house all misty-eyed and excited. My attitude was one of indifference and boredom...although in my defense I was only 6.5. Anyway, at the time it was impressed upon my brain that this is one of the Things We Do and then of course I converted to Catholicism and it became one of the Things We Don’t Do because we baptize our babies which, of course, as an Anabaptist was one of the Things We Definitely Don’t Do so the whole “what to do with my new baby and my religion” question really becomes quite a complex one for me.
|All decked out for my Dedication in the family gown made by one of my aunts.|
Lord, our God, we praise You for Your Son, Jesus Christ, for He is Emmanuel, the Hope of all people.
He is the Wisdom that teaches and guides us.
He is the Savior of us all.
let your blessing come upon us as we light the first and second (purple) candles of this wreath.
May the wreath and its light be a sign of Christ’s promise of salvation.
May He come quickly and not delay.
We ask this in His holy name. Amen.