Here is another book for your viewing pleasure. Four Witnesses: The Early Church in Her Own Words. This fantastic book lets you read the writings of four great saints of the early Church: Clement of Rome, Ignatius of Antioch, Justin Martyr and Irenaeus of Lyons. Ignatius of Antioch was a student of St. John the Apostle himself and was the first to use the term “Catholic,” which means universal.
It is fascinating to learn about what the Early Christians thought, and how they worshiped. This is a really wonderful book and an easy read. What were the thoughts of the earliest Christians about the Eucharist? Were these people uneducated peasants or highly educated scholars? How did they live and how did they die? Get this book for someone special and then borrow it because it will really do something for your faith.
Every year I try to buy one or two really nice Christmas ornaments. I prefer porcelain, crystal or silver and not glass because they really don’t last well. My mother collected lots of those really large Polish glass painted ornaments. They were beautiful in their day, but they all broke or lost all their paint, and we wound up having to throw them away. Heartbreaking.
After years of collecting we have a fairly nice collection that we can pass onto our sons and their families some day. The last few years I have bought some White House Christmas Ornaments and while they are nice and are affordable, I really would like more ornaments that have religious significance.
So, here is my next gift idea. It is from Monastery Greetings and include 3 different beautiful jeweled and cloisonne Orthodox icon Madonna ornaments. I would love to really have the set, but I will probably just buy one. I love icons and these are just lovely.
And while you are there, be sure to check out the selection of international beers from monasteries. There are probably a few people you know who would like to receive that as a gift, and you can support the hard working monks as well.
So you looked at my last Christmas gift idea, making a rosary (or jewelry) from parts from Gardens of Grace, but you perhaps are not crafty, or want a more inexpensive gift that you can make that would foster the faith. Making your own knotted rosary would fit the bill.
I first discovered this when a bible study friend gave our group these knotted rosaries. We loved them. I use mine every day. It is soft and silent. I can tuck it into my pocket or purse without fear of breakage. A few years ago, I – who am the least crafty person in my state – decided I would like to make a few for friends and family for Christmas. And I did it! It was easy. I just followed the directions at the Rosary Army website. Even a kid could do it. I only needed to buy the cord and some crucifixes to affix to the end. Once you get the hang of it, which is pretty much when you do the first one, it should take about an hour each rosary. You can make them while watching TV or commuting on the train or bus.
This is actually a pretty popular idea in some Catholic circles. You can even buy them. For example, here is a Facebook page for Handmade Cord Knotted Rosary which sells rosaries like the one above.
So where do you get the supplies for this? First check out the list of suppliers at Rosary Army or look online where you will find places like the RosaryCord website. You can also find crucifixes at perhaps your local Catholic supply store. A quick search on the internet for Rosary supplies yielded Rosary Workshop and Rosary Shop. So look around. You can make the cord rosaries to the last part and put crucifixes on the lot of them at the end.
This is a beautiful gift and everyone I have given it to has been very happy to receive it. I have even been asked to make more. So try it. Even if it is not for Christmas, these would make good year round gifts for any occasion.
Here is one gift idea that would take a little work on your part. Gardens of Grace has – hands down – the most beautiful rosaries I have ever seen. One is more beautiful and elegant than the next. I don’t think they make many rosaries anymore, BUT they have all the parts to make these beautiful works of art. These rosary parts and beads can be used for jewelry too, of course.
Any rosary, chaplet, paternoster or piece of jewelry you would make from these pieces would be treasured as family heirlooms for decades to come.
This is definitely something on my wish list for this Christmas – just in case you were wondering what to get me. The Truth & Life Audio Bible – New Testament is just amazing. Using the wonderful Revised Standard Version (Catholic Edition) of the Bible, it has 70 fantastic actors like Michael York and Blair Underwood performing the complete audio of the New Testament. You can listen to excerpts and see behind the scenes here.
I really thought this would be much more expensive that it is. Retail is around $50 for 18 CD’s (yes, you read that right) but I have seen it going for about $35. Such a deal! Wouldn’t it be great to listen to in the car with the kids? It really brings the Bible to life.