A friend, who I love dearly, recently shared with me how she wisely saved her money to accomplish and fulfill her dreams! She said part of the fun of wanting to do something new in life was the dreaming! I thought that was pretty neat, especially the part about saving for the dream. Dreaming actually costs us nothing but time and when we dream our imagination can go wild! This is something I always tried to encourage in my children, dreaming BIG! There are truly no limits in life. A dream for me began as a desire simply to visit my daughter, Kara, when she and her husband were married and living in England. At the time, I had never traveled abroad so I spent several months planning and dreaming and learning. Today, it is my joy to share with others how simple it is to travel abroad and learn new and beautiful cultures different from our own, yet similar in many ways. Along the way, I fell in love with France and truly all things French! So.....come on along and let us learn together about Christmas in France!
In France, heralding the holiday season is St. Barbara's Day, December 4th, when water soaked wheat grains are placed in dishes and set to germinate. An old Folk legend predicts fast growing grain to mean good crops for the coming year. *
The religious accent is strong upon all French Christmas customs. A miniature nativity scene, called a "Crèche" is arranged by the children and placed in the home. The crèche is artistically lighted for the magnificent religious services when age old hymns are sung, incense burned , and bells rung. Following the midnight mass, all partake of "reveillon", a luxurious meal of oysters and special wines and sauces.
A giant wicker figure, "Melchior", named after one of the three Magi, has a basket on his back and is dressed in fantastic garb. Strapped to a donkey, he is paraded from door to door to gather whatever foods the generous May give. A candle is lighted at the church which beckons all the poor of the parish to come and receive of these gifts brought to the church by Melchior.
YES, I do love France and all the beauty of this blessed season reminds me once again that no matter where we live, giving in a generous way is still what makes us human and truly extending the hand of Christ Jesus. May we all have an opportunity to share Christmas blessings!
Today on my blog I am giving away a mounted photograph I took in Paris of the Eiffel Tower! Just send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org for a chance at the drawing! I will select a winner on Friday, December 20th!
*source: Ideals, published in 1949