Wednesday, September 10, 2008

(The Real) Grandparents' Day

Did you know today is the real Grandparents' Day? That is, today is the liturgical Grandparents' day (in the Byzantine rite). Because today is the day after the feast of the Conception of the Theotokos--a day when we remember her parents, Joachim and Anna, grandparents of Jesus. Tradition holds that an angel visited Anna, telling her "the Lord has heard your prayer ,and you shall conceive and bring forth, and your seed shall be spoken of in all the world." To which, she replied, "As the Lord my God lives, I will bring this child as a gift to the Lord my God, and it shall minister unto Him holy things all the days of its life." The icon above shows the meeting of Joachim, who also had been visited by an angel, and Anna. Her robes are billowed out behind her, indicating her hurry to share the wonderful news with her husband, whose feet are firmly set, a fitting foundation for such a family. Their couch (bed) is in the background, along with both their houses, connected by a cloth mantle. This couple's simple "yes" to God changed the course of history forever, bringing into the world the Holy Theotokos, God-bearer. Nationally, grandparents' day was first celebrated in 1973, founded by a woman from West Virginia. It's now celebrated in the U.S. on the first Sunday after Labor day (this year on September 7). September was chosen because it signifies the "autumn" years of our parents' parents. But the funny thing to me is that the Church has already been celebrating grandparents' day (around the same time, even) for thousands of years!

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