Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Beginning an Oplatki Family Tradition

The Christmas season will be here soon enough, and every year I struggle to keep the right perspective, to remember to focus on my faith in a world that bombards me with confusing messages. I tend to get caught up in the pettiness of gift giving and obligatory rituals, when the real present is that Christ died out of unconditional love for all of humanity, giving us eternal life. Christmas, to me, is about striving to love others as God wants us to love, and the watering down of Christ's birth in the spirit of political correctness makes me cringe. This should not be.

So, in an effort to teach my children the true meaning of Christmas I am always on the lookout for new Catholic traditions to incorporate into our holiday celebration. For instance, the first ornament that goes on our Christmas tree is a giant nail- a symbol of Christ's loving sacrifice for all of mankind. Also, before the children tear through their gifts at 5 a.m. on Christmas morning, we have them place baby Jesus into the little creche in our family Nativity. Throughout Advent, we light the candles on our wreath during dinners.

This year we plan to start something new. Sharing Oplatki is a Catholic Christmas tradition that originated with early Christians. Oplatki, wafers that resemble Communion hosts, are placed on the table at the Christmas Eve meal. Before beginning dinner, each family member breaks a wafer and passes a piece to someone at the table, blessing that person. Just as the Eucharistic meal celebrates Christ's love for us, this tradition expresses the love that family members share for one another.

I'm looking forward to starting this beautiful tradition with my family, and I think my kids will really love participating. I enjoy learning about religious traditions. If you have a religious holiday tradition (any religion) in your family, I'd love to hear about it. Send me a comment.

1 comment:

The Meowers from Missouri said...

how cool! i have not seen or thought of this since i was a kid in berwyn, illinois--grew up in a neighborhood of slovaks, czechs, polish, and saw this in their homes. wonderful tradition, nice to think it's being carried on.

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