The Feast Goes On by Jessica Snell

The Feast Goes On

Jessica Snell on Living the Church Year at Home

As a new parent, I was flummoxed by how to explain Jesus to a two-year-old. The church year answered my question. You start by letting her participate in the story: By letting her see the crèche at the front of the church during Advent and the Wise Men moving toward it during Epiphany. By standing with her in a candle-lit church on Christmas Eve. By having her forehead crossed with ashes at the beginning of Lent. By giving her a palm frond to wave on Palm Sunday. By giving her a bell to ring on Easter Sunday. By wearing red on Pentecost. The church year was made for people like her.

Ascension Day last year found my husband and me, each with a toddler on his back, hiking up a local hill to remember how Jesus went up into heaven. We know of families who tend Michaelmas daisies for the feast of angels and pick shamrocks on Trinity Sunday. During Pentecost, some people decorate their tables with red rose petals, to remember how the Holy Spirit descended with tongues of flame. The saints’ days also offer chances to participate in the story, by folding reed crosses on St. Brigid’s day, for example, or packing up food to give to the poor on St. Stephen’s.

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