Since we are entering the holiday season I am thinking about building some of my posts around the holidaies and maybe some of my evolving ideas of a personal liturgical calendar. I seem to have needed this calendar all of my life and over the last ten years or so I have been actively and successfully pursuing it, including a thoroughly Mormon Passover and some beginning stabs at celebrating the Feast of Tabernacles.
Actually it is really hard to start new ritual type traditionsâ€”or at least it has been for me. First the collective â€œcharter memberâ€ males in my lifeâ€”husband and 5 sons, have in the past, generally rolled their eyes and acted ever so indulgent of me. However, I have discovered a secret weaponâ€” the grandchildren. If I get them enthused their parents have more or less needed to fall into line. Fireâ€”candles, bonfires, fireplace all are sure draws and music is also quite compelling. I must say too that my husband is now a great supporter of all of this.
One thing that defines my liturgical calendar is that I fly my ZION banner. A colleague and I commissioned identical banners. So far he has only flown his on the 24th of July. I suggested that he needs a more ambitious liturgical calendar. These banners are a robin egg blue with gold fringe. In the center is a gold beehive and the words â€œHoliness to the Lordâ€ and â€œZIONâ€ in gold. When the banner goes up it is a holy season for me, when it comes down, that season is over. I would be absolutely surprised if any of my neighbors have any idea what I am doing. For them the banner is probably there and not there on a pretty random schedule.
I would not want anyone to think our liturgical calendar is grander than it is. There are â€œHoly Daysâ€, such as every Sabbath, and there are â€œHigh Holy Daysâ€. However, this is all still evolving.
So this week is Thanksgiving. Many of the elements of our annual liturgical calendar diverge far from the American norm, but at Thanksgiving we find ourselves in as close of alignment with the Great American Standard as we will likely be all year. We do some or all of the following (depending on how many and who is there.)â€”We always have some short ritual time together before the blessing on the food. A song of Thanksgiving (from the Childrenâ€™s Songbook or the Hymn Bookâ€“ something that most people know), we almost always read a scripture about being thankful (Psalm 100, â€œThe Thanksgiving Psalmâ€ is a good choice), everyone present names a blessing or two or three of the last year. (We sometimes go around the circle or sometimes people just participate in a random way.) The person in charge then reminds all present that all good gifts come from Christ (Moroni 10:18). Placecards and decorations made by the children of the family often add to the festiveness and togetherness feeling of the day. After dinner, we linger and talk, sharing time and feelings and spirit with these people who are the most dear to us.
My banner goes up tomorrow after work and the season starts for us.
I would love to hear about your traditions as we all Welcome the Season.