My Christmas books (the ones I have received and the ones I have read…minus the Agatha Christies) have centered both on habits and on the liturgical calendar. I hadn’t made the connection between habits – which I typically consider to be daily, or at least frequent, and automatic – and the liturgical calendar, which is an annual cycle and, especially for those who are not in terribly liturgical churches, take effort to bring into our lives and homes.
But then here are a few lines from Sr. Joan Chittister in The Liturgical Year:
Then, after years of repeating the messages of the feasts and probing their meanings for our own lives, we come to a point where we look back over the decades and realize that little by little the slow drip, drip of the Christian ideal has insinuated itself into the deepest parts of our psyches. We, who squirmed through lent as children, and stood only half aware through long Easter readings as young adults, who wore Ash Wednesday’s ashes with equal parts pride and embarrassment as adult sophisticates, become conscious as the years go by of the tendrils of hope and desire, of commitment and conviction such practices have rooted in our hearts. We come to know ourselves to be more than simply an empty self. We come to know ourselves to be Christian.
It’s not, then, only our daily, practical habits that shape us and our families – the way we mark the passage of those days also matters.