Monday, May 25, 2009

Holy Ascension

Thou hast ascended in glory O Christ our God, granting joy to Thy disciples by the promise of the Holy Spirit. Through the blessing they were assured that Thou art the Son of God, the Redeemer of the world! (Troparion).

When Thou didst fulfill the dispensation for our sake, and didst unite earth to heaven, Thou didst ascend in glory, 0 Christ our God, not being parted from those who love Thee, but remaining with them and crying: I am with you and no one will be against you! (Kontakion).

The 40 day Paschal celebration will come to a close this next Thursday with the feast of the Holy Ascension. This feast marks Christ's ascent into heaven after the 40 days he spent with the disciples demonstrating his Resurrection. Here are several ideas to help you celebrate the day with your children:

  • In Western Christendom, it is common to eat some sort of bird on this day since Christ "flew" into heaven.
  • Another popular custom to take a hike up hills or Mountains on Ascension Day to commemorate Christ and the Disciples climbing up Mt. Olives. The Swedes have a tradition of getting up very early in the morning and going to a forest glen to hear birds singing at sunrise. Dependent on when the sun rises in your city, you might want to try some variation of this. Maybe start a morning hike at sunrise and end on top of a hill with a picnic breakfast?
  • In the Catholic Church, there is recorded an English custom of a processional involving a banner bearing a lion at the head and a dragon at the rear to symbolize Christ's triumph in his ascension over the evil one. So, the project for Ascension Day is to make a Banner of Triumph. Here are two links for paper plate lion and dragon crafts. You can draw the faces and let your toddlers color them in before attaching them to a banner. Then, at the end of the day before extinguishing the Paschal candle, make a processional around the house during prayer time singing the hymn "Christ is Risen from the dead" one last time. Then, hang the banner on the wall until Pentecost (remove the Christ is Risen banner) and extinguish the Paschal candle together before bedtime.
  • One last idea is a little 'puppet' show. Help your children to make Toilet Paper Tube Dolls. Make disciple dolls and a Christ doll. Attach a long string to the Christ doll. Make a stage with a large cardboard box. Decorate the box and set the dolls in it. Run the string through the top/back of the box, with a hole cut out large enough for the doll to be pulled through. Read the story of the Ascencion from a Children's Bible, and pull on the string as Christ ascends into heaven.

No comments: