Friday, February 28, 2014

Our King's Cake Celebration

I grew up hearing a lot about meaningless traditions and how dead and stifling they are.  If they are meaningless to you, then they aren't worth much.  This year, though, the kidlets and I have been discovering the richness of the liturgical year.  We celebrated Advent together, and it melted my heart when the kids would remind us to pray with shining eyes.  The eldest and I attended Midnight Mass together for the first time, and all of the kids, even the older ones, thought that our celebration of the Reyes Magos (Epiphany) to be a magical time.  We have some very special Easter plans already, and so this week we have been talking about the time leading up to Lent.

Confession Number 1:  I almost never remember to plan things in advance, and then get stuck having to wing it on the actual day after reading someone else's cool post.  So we cheated and had a preview celebration of Mardi Gras today.  We will do the real thing again, but I thought it would be fun to do a trial run in case any of you, dear readers, also tend to wait until a blog post reminds you.

Confession Number 2:  I just said that to sound good.  The real reason is that I did grocery shopping yesterday and they had cream cheese-filled King's cakes on sale, and it sounded too yummy to resist for elevenses today.
The crumbs and fingerprints are from some impatient little kidlets.  Ahem.

First, we talked about all the ways that God makes our lives rich with His love and how the richness of the cake and the sweetness of the sugar reminds us of how sweet His presence is in our lives.  They wanted to know why the sugar was purple, green and gold, so we looked it up.  The purple stands for justice, the green for faith and the gold for power.  The kidlets were already talking about the Wise Men (and the straw filled shoes for the camels) so I told them that the shape of the cake is because of the way the Wise Men went home in a circular way to evade Herod.  Of course, the fun part is finding the baby Jesus doll.  Without any prompting, the kids told me that that was because finding Jesus is the most important thing in our whole lives.  :happymamatears.

Together we prayed and gave thanks for the sweetness and joy of knowing God.  We prayed that there would be justice for all people, especially the poor and oppressed.  We asked for a vibrant, growing faith, that those who have gold would know that all power belongs to Christ, and that most of all we would always seek Jesus in our hearts.

Confession Number 3:  I think that any great spiritual lesson quickly gave way to seeing who had the biggest slice and who would find the plastic Jesus doll.  It was a beautiful moment, but it was also real life with a bunch of kidlets.  That still doesn't keep me from getting all watery-eyed, though.

For the real Mardi Gras, we will do a repeat of this (although in the morning, we will be having pancakes and pancakes races, and watching the Olney/Kansas races on Youtube--yikes, that is a lot of sugar!).  Then on Ash Wednesday, if my courage doesn't fail me, I will take all four little ones to church.  Gulp.

I know that this is just a little thing, but at the risk of being trite (who am I kidding--I wallow in trite!), our lives are made up of these moments.  I can't say for sure how much meaning the kidlets will find in the traditions we are embracing this year, but so far they have loved them and so have I.  Besides, who doesn't enjoy an excuse to eat a cream cheese filled cinnamon roll covered in pretty sprinkles?

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