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alec vanderboom

If you are a novice to Candlemass, this is a lovely Catholic feast day to add to your week. There is something about this celebration that helps mark the transition of the "little Jesus" of Christmas to the "grown up Jesus" on the cross for Lent.

Here is a fantastic Candlemass Tea idea from the accomplished Mrs. Alice Gunther. Tonight, I picked up prezels for Simon, Marlomars for Anna, and candy hearts with some toothpicks for "the sorrowful news that pieced our Blessed Mother's Heart."

Alice's blog at "Cottage Blessings" has been a source of inspiration over the past year. I can't recommend enough how "living the Liturgical year" has help my family grow in our Catholic faith. Here is a piece of fan mail that I sent to Alice this past Advent.

"I had never heard of Candlemass before your post. I was a little nervous asking our parish priest to bless our
candles, but he did it with such joy that I figured I must be on to something great. We had a sweet little
tea with the maramells for Anna and pierced candy hearts for the sorrow of Mary. My husband was so happy
to be a part of this scene after a hetic day of work. He really urged me to do more celebrations like this.

This year has been such a delight-learning how to live the liturgical year in our own domestic church. I've
been inspire to get over my natural shyness and the shyness that comes from being a convert, and so in
unfamilar territory, and made friendships with Catholic mothers in my area. This week I'm hosting my
first St. Nicholas craft party, also inspired by your blog!

The most exciting thing is that this is the first December (I'm 32) that I've felt completely ready for the Advent season. "What is so different this year?" I've asked my husband. I finally realized, we are already "living the church calendar".

After all the happy Sundays of ordinary time, I'm ready for a little change. The things we are doing for Advent aren't foriegn things added into my family life. Acts of charity, Adoration, frequent confession, family prayer, special feast days, these are things we are already doing. This year Advent is a mere rededication of my domestic church, not inventing things from whole-cloth or uncovering duties covered by neglect and dust.

I really have your simple Candlemass idea to thank for our "clean hearts." I'm so grateful that you take time out of your busy, busy days to blog."

Okay, now that I've shared Candlemass with you, it's your turn to share your comments below. What are you doing to prepare for Lent?