Before I start, I want to say this. I love me some blogs about Liturgical Living. I love Advent/Lent Liturgical Living Blogs especially. They have helped me create sweet traditions with my little family I would have never dreamt up on my own. I am so thankful for Better Than Eden and the way Mary intentionally and specifically lives each season with her children. I am thankful for Kendra at Catholic All Year, for giving me great ideas on how to incorporate faithful living into our home. I feel so blessed by Bonnie, at aknottedlife, who gives real practical tips that are applicable to a young family trying to live out the gift of our Church calendar.
But I don’t feel like everything they say is the Gospel. And, I know for sure, they don’t either.
Yesterday, I took the boys to see the Christmas Lights at a long stretch of park in our local area. It was awesome. We blasted Christmas music on the local station and our boy’s little hearts were soaring as they saw the nativity and we talked about Jesus coming. They laughed outloud at the dinosaur Christmas lights, and they delighted in the Menorah as we told them about Hanukkah.
A lot of bloggers who move with the Liturgical year are adamant about not playing Christmas music until it is REALLY the Christmas season. I think some of them might judge me for singing, ‘Oh Christmas Tree’ with my crew when we are supposed to be quietly waiting for the birth of Christ. Waiting has a place right? What’s with having to rush it? I get it, I really do, and so some might judge me… but I think more often than not, most wouldn’t care.
Little Aaron is desperate for a specific gift this year from Santa. He saw it a few months back at a store with Big A. It’s a gigantic, totally impractical Power Ranger Robot. It follows every trend today. It has entirely too many pieces to be a good purchase for our home. While looking at it, Joey saw a Batman Robot. Just as big, just as gaudy. Truth be told, we usually just buy presents from the dollar store (except when I bought the Mass kit for lil’ A that was completely not age-appropriate, and yet Aaron and I were in a squabble so I ‘showed him’ by hitting up amazon one night- OFF TOPIC). We buy our children 3 presents (one from Jesus, one from us, and one from Santa), and have never spent a lot of money on any of them. These big, giant, robots are a lot of money. But little A keeps talking about how excited he is to see if Santa brings them. I can’t even imagine how excited he is going to be on Christmas morning when he wakes up and sees this robot under the tree. I can’t wait to see his wonder, his awe, when he sees the man in the north pole, who celebrates/works for Jesus, heard what he asked for.
A lot of bloggers have very specific ideas about toys. Kendra published a blog today about how toys are not helpful for her family this year for Christmas. Maybe to bloggers like Kendra, it’s a silly for me to spend money on something so impractical, something that will just become ‘junk’ in a few months if not properly taken care of. But I doubt it. I think probably these bloggers are writing from their experience, not to throw stones at me and my family's way of doing things. I think bloggers like Kendra are offering gentle suggestions.
Some of those suggestions I take. They have added to my family greatly.
Last year, each night of advent, we turned off every light in the house except for the Advent Candle/s, we put up a Jesse Tree ornament, talked about the story of Christ and sang, ‘O Come O Come Emmanuel’. Every night, in silence and stillness, our family reflected on the meaning of Advent. We make a cake each year on Christmas Eve for Jesus's Birthday (kid's choice, so last year it was Peppa the Pig). I’m not sure I would have thunk up those little traditions if it weren’t for the beautiful Catholic Blogs that have inspired me.
But sometimes I feel like a cruddy parent because I don’t make Liturgical Feasts to follow the Church Calendar year. I don’t have a liturgical living cookbook you guys. I probably never will. But, who knows? Maybe I am wrong and when my kids are a bit older, I will replace mac and cheese with a dinner fit for a King to celebrate the Feast of Christ the King… maybe… but, doubtful.
Sometimes I feel like a bad Catholic because I love secular Christmas time. The whole darn season of Advent/Christmas. I blend them. After the first snowfall, it’s game on for me. I can’t hold back. And geez, I know that would probably make some bloggers nervous, I am certain it’s like nails on a chalkboard to the Liturgist when I attend Christmas parties, and say Merry Christmas on November 23rd. I can appreciate their perspective... and still enjoy the way we do things around here.
Occasionally I wonder if I am doing enough to organically have my 4, 3,2 year old and newborn fully appreciate the movements of our faith. Sometimes I second guess myself. Actually a lot of times I second guess myself.
But then I take a deep breath, realizing our little family is growing in our appreciation of the faith every day. And maybe I’ll get there with the liturgical feasts and pure celebration of the seasons of the Church…ha, but maybe I never will. I’m not quite convinced God will care.
We are figuring out, like so many of you, what traditions work for us, and that’s A-Okay.
So today I pledge to allow the blogs of others in the Catholic world of parenting to inspire me, but not own me. To encourage me, but not define for me what is best for my family. Today I pledge to appreciate how God is shaping all of our families, and maybe I’ll take a little heart in the fact that He appreciates the effort, no matter how small!