Hanging of the Green

30 11 2009

From Hodges Flickr

Another Advent tradition that I love, and have not yet had the priviledge to participate in first-hand is the church “Hanging of the Green.”

I first heard of this while reading my beloved Mitford books, and got a glimpse for this Southern Baptist Belle into the world of our brother Episcopalians.

If you missed the chance to participate in a Hanging of the Green service yesterday, on the first day of Advent, why not participate in one of your own.

Make an official ceremony out of hanging greenery on your mantle or banister, or the wreath on your front door.

Here are some guides to guide you, but feel free to add your own words, songs, and so forth.

Just another way to “keep Christmas” in our hearts.





Good-Bye Fall

30 11 2009

Today is the last day of November, and while Sweet Iced Tea and the rest of the world are gearing up for Christmas, I couldn’t help but send off fall with well wishes.  Fall ushers in so many things we love.  Therefore, it must be praised! It is the season of root vegetables, leafy greens, Halloween candy, cider, cooler weather, falling leaves, the start of school, sharpened pencils, sweaters, apples, football, and so much more.  As much as I love Christmas (which is a lot), I prefer not to give up the other seasons and holidays. 

Good-Bye fall.  You will be missed, but in my heart I am happy to know we will see you again, next year.

Here are a few pics of North Carolina apples brought back from a recent trip, and I hope you enjoy the last day of November.  (Remember, winter doesn’t officially start until December 21st. )

All pictures are from www.sweeticedtea.wordpress.com

 





Advent

30 11 2009

Well, it’s upon us. The season so many of us wait all year for – Christmas.

Whatever holiday you and your loved ones celebrate, this holiday season is anticipated all year long. (I’m unashamed to admit the first Christmas music usually finds its way out of my collection around August.)

But it’s easy to get so busy with Black Friday and Cyber Monday, with baking and wrapping and party-going, that we forget what the season is really all about. The anticipation is lost in our business.

That childlike Christmas list turns into a grown-up “to do” list.

This year, I’m vowing to remember, and recognize the season of Advent. We’ve all heard of Advent. You probably have an advent calendar sitting somewhere in your décor. But I must admit, I didn’t know its full meaning until a few years. There are many traditions we don’t even realize come from the observance of Advent.

The term Advent means “coming.” It is a reminder of the original waiting and anticipation that was done by the Hebrews for the birth of their Messiah. This season, officially four weeks long, begins on the fourth Sunday before December 25th.

 

Advent wreath from Wikipedia

Often in your church settings, there will be special readings or specific teachings in the liturgy. And there will often be an Advent wreath or those purple, blue, or pink candles.

My favorite Christmas hymn is “O Come, O Come Emmanuel.” This carol refers to the forthcoming birth of the Messiah, and each verse represents a prayer.

I know of someone who even endeavors to complete her Christmas shopping before December 1st, so she can fully partake in the joy of the season (brave and organized woman)!

More than anything, it’s a reminder that before presents are bought or wrapped, food is baked or eaten, television holiday specials are viewed, we must remember the original good tidings that bring peace and goodwill to all men.

What special Advent traditions do you and your family celebrate?





What to Do With All Those Extra Christmas Cards

30 11 2009

Unfortunately, I’m embarrased to tell y’all that I’ve just been informed that this is a hoax and if cards or packages are sent to that address, they will be discarded. If you would like to send holiday greetings to a soldier, then a better way to do it is through the American Red Cross program, “Holiday Mail for Heroes”. All cards must be postmarked by Monday, December 7, 2009. Here are some related links:

Holiday Mail for Heroes info via Red Cross: http://redcrosschat.org/2009/10/27/holiday-mail-for-heroes-2/

 

Inevitably, I will wind up with 2 or 3 extra Christmas cards, that end up in my stationary drawer, never to be used again. Every year, I say that next year, I’ll just send out a random conglomeration of all those misfits that didn’t get used in years of Christmas past. After all, no one will remember, right? But then the next year comes along, I find a box of beautiful cards that I’d like to send to all my friends and family, buy 10 boxes of 10, even though I only have 98 friends, and send them away. Throw the extra 2 cards in my drawer, and the vicious cycle continues.

 

But not this year. This year, I plan to get rid of all those extras in the stationary draw, along with spreading some Christmas cheer besides. How will I do this, you ask? (And I’m so glad you did…) No, not by framing or hanging or decoupaging anything (who has time for that between cooking and cleaning and shopping and watching the endless supply of movies The 25 Days of Christmas provides us with?).

 

This year, I plan to mail an extra card or two to those who defend and protect us every day, our American Soldiers. It’ll only cost you $0.42, and bring them a smile and a hope and good cheer. Or let your children sit down with a pile of paper, some crayons, and give you the greatest gift of all—twenty free minutes to cook, or clean, or watch the last half of The Christmas List on ABC Family.

 

 

Here’s the address:

A Recovering American Soldier

c/o Walter Reed Army Medical Center

6900 Georgia Avenue, NW

Washington, D.C. 20307-5001

 

_______________________________________________

 

Snopes article about the Walter Reed Hospital hoax: http://www.snopes.com/politics/christmas/walterreed.asp








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