Greetings! Hosanna!

Today the church celebrates Palm Sunday, which is the beginning of Holy Week. This is a well-known church feast, and one many people look forward to. But this year, the calendar works out so that today the church also celebrates the Feast of the Annunciation, marking the visit of the angel Gabriel to Mary, and the beginning of Jesus’ earthly life. This may be a lesser-known feast to some, but there are some parallels between Palm Sunday and Annunciation Day that make me enjoy the felicitous calendar dates this year.

  • Both days are marked by exclamations. On Palm Sunday we hear the joyful shouts of the crowd: “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” On Annunciation Day, we hear a different exclamation, when the angel appears to Mary and says: “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!”
  • Both mark the start of something big. Palm Sunday begins the most somber week of the church year, the week where Jesus begins His final journey to the cross. Annunciation Day begins Jesus life on the earth with His conception. Both ultimately point to the same thing: Jesus’ triumph over sin and death, and the eternal life He won for us!
  • Both focus on Jesus as a son. On Palm Sunday, we hear the people calling for the “Son of the David”…not the direct son of the great king, but a descendant in David’s line, the one the people were hoping would ┬ácome with might and majesty to rescue them and claim the throne of His ancestor. On Annunciation Day, we hear Gabriel tell Mary that she will give birth a son, who will be not only a man, but also the Son of the Most High, God in the flesh!

I’ve always felt that there’s something especially Advent-y about Palm Sunday. This year, however, we get an even bigger glimpse of Adventide even as Lent winds down, as we hear the great announcement of Gabriel to Mary. The baby king in the crude manger is the same humble king who rode into Jerusalem on a lowly donkey.

Hosanna! Gloria! Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!

Lucia Morning in Belleville

I’m always excited when Santa Lucia Day comes around. I had everything ready to go last night:

The girls were very excited to dress up and serve breakfast this morning…Chickadee got to carry the lussekattes for the first time, and she did a great job!

Happy Santa Lucia Day!

Lucia Morning

Santa Lucia Day has become one of my favorite days of the year. The lussekattes are such a special treat that I literally only make once a year, and the unmistakable smell of cardamom and orange zest makes it very clear exactly what day it is! The girls’ enthusiasm for helping out always warms my heart, as does the fact that the boys are still willing to play the part of the Star Boys. And I look forward to reading our Santa Lucia stories every year, as well. It’s just another highlight of the Advent season in the Markel house!



Chickadee Thursday

Every year, we buy two Lego Advent calendars–one for the boys, and one for the big girls. This has worked out well in the past, with everyone getting 12 of the small builds over the course of December. With Chickadee getting older, however, we needed a new solution, so she didn’t feel left out.

Enter a Lego free-with-purchase I received earlier this year. It also contains 24 mini Lego builds, but because the set has fewer pieces, they can’t all be constructed at the same time. The instructions, however, are more detailed, which is great for Chickadee’s somewhat limited Lego skills. She was very excited to start her set today…the first build was a boat, and she was able to put most of it together herself. I’m really grateful Lego solved this problem for us, and without costing me any more money!

Here’s a bonus picture of Chickadee and Ladybug from Tuesday’s walk through Belleville’s Christkindlemarkt:


And a bonus story from yesterday. We were leaving Schnucks, and Chickadee kept stepping in front of the cart Turkey was driving, forcing him to continually stop suddenly to avoid hitting her. I told her she needed to move to the side of the cart, and that she needed some sense, to which she replied: “I have three pennies!” That’s a pretty sophisticated word play for a four-year-old, to go from sense to cents…I think I may be in as much trouble with her as I was with Bunny at that age!

Lucia Morning

We had a very fun Lucia Morning!


Since Bunny is charge of the coffee, she let Ladybug take care of the lussekattes this year. Chickadee enjoyed playing with my American Girl doll.


Ryan says the lussekattes turn out better every year…I don’t know if he’s right, but I know they taste almost as good as they smell…and I love the way they smell!


Happy Santa Lucia Day!

Ready for Lucia Morning

December 13th is one of the days I most look forward to during Advent, because it’s Santa Lucia Day. I may not be Scandinavian, but I still enjoy the celebration, and I enjoy it even more now that my daughters get so excited about it!


We’re ready to commemorate Lucia tomorrow!