16 January 2011

Marking the Seasons

We are thinking of ways to differentiate the seasons of the year in our home.  Here are some ideas (I'll post pictures and follow-ups as these ideas become realities):

* Using colored fabric to remind the family of the season.  I have heard of mothers hosting "tea parties"  in the afternoon, where the tablecloth each day reflects the liturgical colors; while the kiddies snack and sip, she teaches catechism, they go over memory verses, the saint of the day, etc.  Some homes have a family altar, where the hymnal, Bible, and some candles (maybe an icon) are kept.  This "altar" would be a great place to put a purple, white, green, black or red runner.

* Having a certain "hymn of the season" the family sings every day.  Our family actually sings three hymns a day for the duration of a season: a family-member's request, a seasonal hymn, and a particular piece from Divine Service I, III, or Matins (the services out of the Lutheran Service Book our church uses).  So, for example, during Advent we sang "God's Own Child I'll Gladly Say It" (LSB #594--daughter's request), O Come Emmanuel (LSB #357-Advent) and This is the Feast (LSB 171-Setting I).  Many hymnals are organized by the seasons of the church year.  Or you could ask your pastor if he will be introducing a new hymn your family could begin practicing.

* A verse of the season.  The whole family can memorize a particular verse that captures a theme (or one of the themes) of the season.  I will tell you what verses we're working on each season, but they will be fairly small for my 3 and 2 year old.  If you have older kids, especially those who are good at memorizing, assign a different one each week!  Whole chapters!

*Bulletin board collection of seasonal projects: Line a bulletin board with the appropriate liturgical color and then fill it with the crafts, coloring pages, and photos of activities your family did to celebrate the various feasts and festivals during that season.  Sunday school projects could go up here, too.

Most importantly, associate the individual celebrations to the time of the Church year ("How is Peter's Confession an Epiphany? What does Jesus reveal about Himself when Peter says, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God?") and the time of the Church year to our salvation in Christ's work on the cross.

How do you "mark the seasons" of the church year?  How are you celebrating Epiphany?

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