Writing a letter to your confirmation candidate

It seems that one of the biggest events in confirmation preparation in this country is the letters of support to be given to the confirmation candidates during their mandatory retreats.

I have three such letters saved on this blog:

Confirmation letter to my daughterConfirmation letter to my fourth sonConfirmation letter to to my third son
I've asked my children what they remember about the letter they got from me and their dad, and also what they remembered about the letters they received. 
The answer was not much, or at least nothing specific. In general they were happy to have gotten a bag full of letters and there was a sense of feeling loved and supported. I guess that's the main thing - for them to have a sense that this is an important step in their spiritual growth, and that people they know, love and respect have taken the time out of their lives to let them know that! So here are some tips on procuring and writing letters for young confirmation candidates. Start thinkin…

A review, the Legend of the Poinsettia


Poinsettia
Ewald Maly via Flickr, licensed cc.



I love legends. I always have. I am particularly fond of legends that attempt to explain things such as why the robin has a red breast, or why it snows on Christmas, or why the donkey says "hee haw," and other things like that. That is one of the reasons I was drawn to this little book by Tomie dePaola, The Legend of the Poinsettia.

Lucinda is a young girl who lives with her parents and younger siblings in Mexico. The colorful illustrations have that southeastern feel to it. Lucinda's community is preparing for Christmas by preparing gifts for the Christ child on Christmas Eve. I loved that the focus of gift giving was for Christ as opposed to the hustle and bustle and commercialism that is so common in American households. The gifts were labors of love too and involved special crafts, skills or homegrown gifts. Lucind and her mama have been asked to weave the special blanket for Baby Jesus as the one they have used for years is very old and worn.

When Lucinda's mama becomes ill, Lucinda is unable to finish the blanket by herself and the more she tries, the more tangled the yarn in the loom becomes. Lucinda is disheartened and worried about her mother, as well as saddened that her family has no gift to give the Christ child. Suddenly an old woman appears and suggests Lucinda pick some simple native weeds and bring them to Christ. In humility, Lucinda does that, and as you can guess, these become the beautiful poinsettia plants, the flor de la Nochelbuena, that we associate with Christmas today!

The reference and picture of Our Lady of Guadalupe was a nice touch for Catholic children who are familiar with story, and it was nice to see the shrine to our lady as part of Lucinda's everyday life. My children identified with Lucinda's fears for her mother, and also her fear of being different from the rest of the community. They also felt it was very brave of her to come forward with such a simple gift in the face of much splendor. After reading the story, my kids also became more aware of the poinsettias at church and other places and we even bought our own!

Overall I think this is a very nice book to read during the Advent season in preparation for Christmas, and a nice way for the family to focus on what is most important during this beautiful holiday.






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