Saturday, January 4

Feast of the Holy Name

Today we celebrated the feast of the Holy Name as part of our twelve days celebration.  Traditionally the Feast of the Holy Name is most often celebrated on the first of January, but there are traditions that celebrate it on several different days in January.  We chose to celebrate on the third because we are home, but I think we'll  continue this tradition as the first, being new years day, has family traditions of its own.

The idea behind the feast is to celebrate that eight days after his birth, per Jewish custom, Jesus would have been taken to the temple to be circumcised and named.  

Here are a few ways we celebrated today...

::At breakfast we shared stolen, which is a traditional German bread made to resemble the Christ child swaddled (I bought this right before Christmas at Trader Joe's).  I shared the meaning of the feast day and we talked about Jesus being taken to the temple (which involved explaining circumcision to a curious four year old - smile.) 

 :: This was actually Jonah's Christmas craft at his school party this year.  It is a chain with twenty five different names of Jesus on it.  I believe it was intended to be copied on purple and be an advent activity, but his teacher printed it on gold and silver to make a lovey Christmas decoration.  (I just did a quick online search and you can find a free printable here!) We talked about the names some more today and Jonah has enjoyed looking up verses in his Bible over the Christmas holiday.

 :: The boys enjoyed water coloring over white letters I had drawn to discover the name of Jesus and IHS.  I sewed the J-E-S-U-S on a ribbon to make a simple banner to decorate for the day.

:: And then tonight we had a simple feast of soup and bread, followed by honey cake with lemon icing (from this cookbook - it got mixed reviews in my family - I was going for something not too sweet.)  We put a candle on it as Rowan has been asking when we will have Jesus' birthday cake (we've never done a birthday cake before, but he won't except that anyone, especially Jesus, could have a birthday without a cake!)  The cake has the letters IHS - or Iota-Eta-Sigma - on it, which is a shortened form of the Greek name Jesus, which means the Lord Saves. We talked about this and that the Hebrew of Jesus would be Joshua.  IHS is the Holy Name traditionally associated with the Feast of the Holy Name.

:: As the boys ate their cake and drank hot cider I read Song of the Stars: A Christmas Story
by Sally Lloyd Jones (author of The Jesus Storybook Bible).  When I first saw this book I loved the way it showed all of creation getting ready for the birth of the Christ Child.   When I took this book to share with Jonah's class at their Christmas party and they were making their names of Jesus chain, I realized that in the later half of the book Jones slips in quite a few names of Jesus.  Jonah's class at the party and my boys tonight loved shouting out "there's one" when I read another name of Jesus.  It is a perfect book to read with little ones on the Feast of the Holy Name.

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