Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Sweet Tradition Comes to an End!

One of my favorite traditions of Christmas celebrated it last year on Saturday. Faith Covenant Church for the past 31 years has had a traditional Swedish Breakfast the first Saturday of December. My family has been going to this event for the last 25 years. My family is Swedish so it is nice to learn about traditions of the Swedes(I wrote a portion of the program that explains the celebration at the end of this post). It has always been one of the highlights of our holiday season and this year it was no exception. I love this event and I love the message of Christ. (I have written going to this before, my great grandpa's Swedish pancake recipe is posted there Yum!)

A little Christmas shopping before the breakfast, we just had to get some more Swedish decorations.

The entry is just beautiful and "God Jul" (Good Yule) is Swedish for "Merry Christmas"!

Mom with her daughters.

Grandma with her granddaughters.

The candles were lit one last time.
In Jesus' name to the table we go.
Bless, dear God, the food we are about to receive.
For God's praise and for our use.
We receive the food.
In Jesus's name.
~Swedish Table Grace

We gobbled up our Lucia buns, cardamom bread and fruit soup.
St. Lucia leads the way in celebrating the birth of our Lord.

The hand bell choir played beautiful Christmas music.
The pastor gave a wonderful message of the birth of our Savior and that He came to this earth to die for us.

One last picture in front of the fabulous tree decorated with symbols of God. I love the gold crown at the top.
As one tradition ends new ones will always begin, but lets never forget Christ and why we celebrated His birth. God in heaven sent His son to be born of a virgin. Here on earth He was fully God yet fully man. His name is Jesus and He lived among us a life of purity and did many miraculous things. He who was blameless died for us so that we could be made right with God. But death could not contain Him. Jesus conquered death and rose again three days after His crucifixion. He ascended to heaven and is now preparing a place for us there.
When we die we can go to heaven as well. All we need to do is to accept Jesus as God. We must believe in our hearts that Jesus is who He says he is. Then we must ask for forgiveness and live a life that is pleasing to Him.
God loves us so much, that he died for our sins. He wanted to make a way for us to be with Him forever and He did that through His son. It is His gift to us and it is free, all we have to do is accept it.
In the program the girl who played St. Lucia said this....
"Do not hide your light under a basket, but let it shine for the whole world for all centuries to see. We must ask Jesus for courage to bring the light of His love into our work, recreations, our relationships, our conversations....every corner of our day.
Hosanna, Christ the light of the world is born!"

The Saint Lucia Tradition (from program)
Lengend describes Lucia as a beautiful young Italian girl, who, as she was about to be married, gave her dowry to the poor and confessed to having become a Christian. She carried food and drink to the Christians hiding in the catacombs, wearing candles in her hair to help light her way in the dark. Finally, she was captured, accused of witchcraft, brought to trial as a Christian and burned at the stake on December 13th, 304 A.D.
The legend of Saint Lucia probably came to Sweden by way of the Church. It was primarily a family observance. Early in the morning, members of the family were awakened by the eldest daughter, who served coffee and special, freshly baked rolls. She wore a white gown and on here head she had a wreath of greenery adorned with lighted candles. Today, Saint Lucia festivities open the Christmas season in Sweden and are celebrated in homes, hospitals, schools and communities.
Saint Lucia stands as a symbol of service and light.

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