Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Dining Table: Home for the holidays

Part of learning how to prepare the Mass well is learning how to dine well at home. Because the domestic Church is connected to the ecclesial Church, the way we attend to the details and actions of one table can influence how we live around the other. And the one sacrifice made at the altar of Christ reflects and strengthens the daily sacrifices we make in our home. So here are some tips for making your dining experience at home more like worship at Church.

Gingerbread Nativity Scenes
Creating a gingerbread house is a great holiday project for families. You can find a lot of patterns and kits by Googling. A simple recipe and pattern can be found here.

If you want to really get into the season, try building a gingerbread Nativity scene.

Here is one recipe for an edible Nativity scene.

There's even one recipe by Better Homes and Gardens that uses gingerbread, cookie dough, and pretzels!

As you create your edible houses and nativities, reflect on how your home feeds others in big and small ways. What can you do this coming year to make your home a place where people can be fed spiritually as well as physically?

Jesus was born in a manger, literally a feeding trough for the stable animals ("manger" is French for "to eat"). In this symbolic way, the story of the Nativity of the Lord highlights how Jesus is "bread for the world," feeding us not only by the Eucharist but also by the Word that he brings.

After you’ve built your masterwork, send me your photos, and I’ll post the best ones here.

Blessings and Prayers
Here are a couple of Christmas blessings to use in your domestic Church.

St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church in Arlington, Virginia, provides this house blessing you can use. There's a prayer for almost every room in your home.

The Book of Blessings provides a "Blessing of a Christmas Manger or Nativity Scene" that you can use at home. The liturgy can be led by a lay person.