Martinmas is tomorrow and don't worry if it completely slipped your mind. The beauty of Martinmas is that it revolves around giving. So if you haven't figured out a lot to do with your family, don't worry.
One of the most well known stories of St. Martin of Tours is that of being :
"While Martin was a soldier in the Roman army and deployed in Gaul (modern-day France), he experienced a vision, which became the most-repeated story about his life. One day as he was approaching the gates of the city of Amiens, he met a scantily clad beggar. He impulsively cut his military cloak in half to share with the man. That night, Martin dreamed of Jesus wearing the half-cloak he had given away. He heard Jesus say to the angels: "Here is Martin, the Roman soldier who is not baptized; he has clad me." In another version, when Martin woke, he found his cloak restored to wholeness. The dream confirmed Martin in his piety, and he was baptized at the age of 18."
While there are a lot of great traditions around the Feast of St. Martin, there's a lot his legends do to remind us of others. For many of us November 11th is about the time the wind grows cold and the days are noticeably short. It is a notorious time for people to find themselves in needing positions as a war begins between heating bills and the grocery list. With Thanksgiving just around the corner for us and Veterans Day (or Armistice Day or Remembered Day depending on your locations) taking up the same time (not a coincidence I believe) it's a perfect time of year to stop and take stock of what we have and what others need.
Here are a few quick and easy ways to give and give back on Martinmas.
- Gift your family with new (to you) Warm Weather Gear - It's the perfect time of year to make sure everyone has socks, boots, coats, hats and mittens for the season.
- Clear out your closets - Go through the old stuff and pack up what you don't need. It's the perfect time of year to surprise someone with bags of handmedowns or drop-off your gently used items at a Clothing Drive.
- Make a special delivery to your local Food or Clothing Pantry - Call ahead to see what's needed and any requirements. Get your kids involved in the collection, shopping and delivery.
- Consider a Donation to your local VA, American Legion or the Wounded Warrior Project - A great project for your school aged kids is the Thank A Warrior Project.
- Attend a Veteran's Day celebration in your area - If you have a veteran in the family, this is a great time for you kids to talk to them about how they served.
- Have a Simple Meal at Home - This could be a great opportunity to talk with older children about what they have.
- Have a Feast, and Invite Others - Perhaps you'd like to celebrate your Martinmas with the traditional Roast Goose complete with all the trimmings and stuffing's. While you're at it call up a neighbor or two, or maybe that young couple with the new baby, or that older couple who's kids all moved away to share your meal with you. Don't forget the Horseshoe cookies.
For a little bit of good old fun :
- How about these clever St. Martin's Bags from Catholic Cuisine.
- Or a few St. Martin themed games from Ordinary Acts.
- Or take a page out of a Waldorf book and go on a Lantern Walk
- There are a lot of great, easy and age appropriate ways to make a Martinmas Lantern.
Have a great