Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Holy Supper

The Byzantine tradition on C'mas eve (which is the last day of St. Phillip's fast) is to serve 12 different dishes to represent the 12 apostles.  I know, some of you may be thinking, "How can you get 12 dishes in one meal that are meatless AND without dairy?!"  I have often wondered the same thing. Let's just say you can do a lot with potatoes :)

But this year, at my parents' house, we had a "modified" holy supper.  It was, indeed, meatless (Momma has always served all-you-can-eat shrimp on C'mas eve (because that's all she had energy for by then!)), but tonight we relaxed the no-dairy rule a bit!

Here are our 12 dishes: 
Leek soup (oooh! so yummy. It has a 1/4 pound of brie melted into the soup!)
Pine nuts
Lima bean hummus
Clementine oranges
Soy Sauce :D
Yoshida's Sauce
Apple sauce
Berry'd apple sauce
Black olives
French Fries
Fried Shrimp
Bread with garlic and honey
The table is set with a white cloth, to represent the swaddling clothes of the Infant Christ. Hay is strewn on the table to remind us of the stable where Christ was born. The candle in the center of the table is the Light of Christ. The bread reminds us of the Eucharist--the food for our souls.

As a side note...

It was always so wonderful to have a fancy dinner at my parents' house. Crisp linens on the table, laying out the china and fine flatware, arranging the napkins, getting out (and usually washing) the crystal, filling all the fun and elaborate serving dishes--it's so much fun!

I think of it as similar to decorating the Church beautifully on feast days. It's not that God will be better to you if your church is pretty, but He does appreciate it, right? If you make things beautiful, in any way, for the right reasons, someone always appreciates it!  On the beautifully-set table, you honor the people gathered around it; you recognize the love and fellowship present at the gathering. For me, particularly, most of my fine things are gifts, so I also get to remember and honor the gift-giver!

I guess it's all part of my understanding of sacramentality.  Physical things have meaning. If you remember and honor that meaning, and do not become too attached to the thing (for the sake of the thing), then it becomes be a recognition of God's goodness to us in all our many blessings.

So praise God for all the china at my parents' house (and there is a lot of it)--and Praise Him for all the familial good times it has witnessed! 

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