Tuesday, 29 January 2008

It's Still Christmas and Epiphany in our house!!

Our fireplace is falling apart - our house was built in the 1940's so has what is known as a backboiler somewhere behind the open fire grate in the front room. As I was cleaning it out last spring, a big lump of metal fell off, consequently, we didn't know what to do with the fire, where the smoke would go etc., if it were lit. This year we haven't had an open fire; a shame, as our son bought a bag of chestnuts in order to roast them over it, as in the song he hears us try to sing around Christmas time. In our "second reception room", a.k.a. the dining room, the fireplace was blocked in a long time ago, but a peculiar little wooden alcove with a hidden light fixture was left just above floor-level. We decided we'd get a man in to estimate for fixing the fireplace in the front room.
I suppose people who have to enter other people's houses, for their work purposes, must be used to seeing some odd sights.

He did very well on entering our front room for he batted not an eyelid about the lovely Mexican crib we have above the fireplace, nor the Christmas cards festooning the walls.

We then took him into the dining room to quiz him about the possibilities of opening up the other fireplace. He again kept his cool, when confronted with our other crib nestling in the strange alcove -

Not to mention the Christmas tree in the corner!

He was very professional, and kept his mind on the job, and has since sent us a reasonable estimate, though we still can't really afford to have the work done. I do wonder what he was thinking though!

The Christmas tradition in our house is such - we put up our tree on Christmas Eve, and sing no Carols until then either (although the occasional silly song about chestnuts on an open fire does sometimes slip out). We try to maintain that spirit of anticipation and preparation for our Saviour's birth, which Advent was once all about, before the "shops" took it over.

Christmas day we celebrate with Mass in the E F, as one is now supposed to call it, if we can get to it. We don't really open presents on This day, although there's usually some small gift for each of us. (We've already celebrated St. Nicholas' day with sweets in our shoes). Then we have a lovely meal with whatever special meat we can afford to get - there are usually some good bargains on Chrismas Eve! We desperately wanted to try goose one year, but they were prohibitively expensive, we settled for duck this year, which we all loved. One day, maybe, we'll be blessed with a goose!

When we see people within the Christmas octave, and they say "did you have a good Christmas", although I usually try to politely answer, "yes, thankyou", I do think to myself, we're still having a good Christmas! - and it's not over for a long time yet! It saddens me to hear people moaning about it, and saying "thank goodness that's all over for this year"

Present opening comes at Epiphany for us. When he was little, our lad believed the 3 Kings brought the presents, as they did for baby Jesus. Now he still enjoys the thought of it, and understands that that feeling of expectation, mystery, and joy, all relate to the gift of Christ to us, and our longing for Heaven.

So, we keep our tree up as long as we can, usually it's shedding fast by the feast of the Baptism of the Lord, and often I take it down then, (which, I think, is when Epiphanytide ends, liturgically speaking). However, this year we were blessed with a lovely long-lasting, non-shedding, tree, so it's staying up, along with the cribs until the Feast of Candlemas, (which is when we always take the cribs down) as we celebrate the Presentation in the Temple of the Baby Jesus, as well as the Purification of Mary, on February 2nd. Then the remembrance of Christ's infancy and Divine Childhood gives way to our preparation for Lent, although since that starts so early this year, we won't have long to wait!

(Hans Holbein's Presentation in the Temple)


Mac McLernon said...

Hallo, Maggie! Welcome to the blogosphere! Thanks for dropping by to say hi... I thought I'd return the compliment!

WhiteStoneNameSeeker said...

Hi, found your blog via Mac.
I am a fellow homeschooler here in the UK.
I've blogged recently about NICE trying to push their sex-ed on homeschoolers too.
Over my dead body-is my reaction to that.
Good luck with blogging-hope you enjoy it.

God bless

ashlyn said...

I try to keep the Christmas decorations to the proper Christmas season as well. I think that it makes the season that much more meaningful.

MaggieClitheroe said...

Thanks mac mclernon nice to see you over here!

whitestonenameseeker, I'm glad to hear of another Catholic uk homeschooler who blogs - I shall be popping in to see yours, and find out all about this nasty "NICE" thing you've mentioned.

Thanks for your comment,ashlyn, I'm so glad we're not the only weirdoes out there!!!