First Sunday of Advent. Stirring up a Herman Cake

As Advent begins and we are called to get stirred up and wake up, we are doing something rather traditional here.

We are taking part in a great Herman cake making. This is an old Scandinavian or German or…around those parts, tradition. We are given the sour dough starter by a friend, K in this case. We get the kids to stir and feed the cake over the next ten or so days and then split it into four, one to keep and three parts to hand out with the instructions to other friends. The cake will grow and spread and feed a lot of people. It’s a lovely idea.

I managed to get to Mass this morning, which was great. Paying for it now, but it was worth it. Father preached a rather cryptic homily against the Black Friday approach to Christmas and, having a church full of non-attenders for a Christening, made it abundantly clear how empty life is when God doesn’t get a look in, and buying stuff we can’t afford and don’t need get’s centre stage.

I must admit, this is one of those struggle areas for me. I love watching people open their pressies on Christmas Day and all the excitement and interest that goes with it. For reasons I don’t ever want to blog about, I find Christmas very important, and the idea that the children have and share and enjoy their gifts is a big part of that. I try not to take the focus off whose Birthday it really is, but there is a place for generosity in “stuff” over Christmas, just as a way of reminding each other we don’t take each other for granted. It doesn’t have to be expensive (thankfully) and it shouldn’t be a massive financial burden, but Christmas gifts do have a place at Christmas.

Black Friday with it’s hob nailed boots and sharpened elbows probably doesn’t have a place. And buying cheap or expensive with no regard to the slavery that has often be used to produce the goods at that price ha no place in our Christmas shopping either.

I must admit to a dislike of the “generic gift” thing too, where no thought about the person has been spared. I love trying to find something that is just right for the person I am buying for, even if it’s very simple.

But that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t do some Christmas shopping and try and make the season special. So long as we remember that Advent is purple for a reason.

And finally a Happy Liturgical New Year to y’all.

Don’t forget you can get my free Advent lesson pack (part 1) here


3 responses to “First Sunday of Advent. Stirring up a Herman Cake

  1. This is wonderful Shell!
    Thank you again for sharing your work. I think if I could nominate a “desert island blog” ( which would, of course be ridiculous) I would have to nominate yours. So many of your posts have helped me in all sorts of ways, from sharing resources, to elucidating political issues related to homeschooling and philosophies of the home educating lifestyle.

    Oh, and btw, I was delighted to read about the Herman cake, because by chance a friend has just give me some sourdough starter. But I would love to see the recipe and it didn’t seem to come up on the link you gave.
    If you have the recipe, I’d love it if you would share that too!

    Wishing you a holy and peaceful Advent

    ( ps one more thing, I appreciate your point about munificience in gift giving at christmas. The principle of generosity is very important too, and in seeking balance and trying to move away from an overly consumerist mindset, we can sometimes lose sight of that. I think perhaps, just as with fasting and feasting, the liberality of christmas gift giving is more sincere and meaningful when it is saved for the special occasion)

  2. Love the Herman cake idea Shell. We had a great sermon for the first week of Advent too.

  3. If you get around to it, I’d love to know what recipe you used!

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