Table cloths or runners that match the liturgical colors are an effective way to start.
- I've found a green runner on clearance after Christmas, vintage white linens at garage sales, and all sorts of fabrics in the proper colors.
- For a guide, we like to use the Liturgical Calendar produced by the religious education department of our parish, but the free calendar you likely got at your parish last month may also have the vestment colors noted.
- If you want the absolutely no-frills-put-it-together-quick version of adding color to your prayer table, even something as simple as a square of felt or colored paper will do in a fix. (I would encourage you to upgrade to something more attractive as soon as possible though.) I'll post something soon about making cloths.
- Advent candles are an obvious seasonal choice, but lighting a candle on your prayer table during any season can send a signal that something important is happening. Candles are lit at each Mass during the Liturgy of the Word; you can do the same thing at home during your daily reading of Scripture.
- You can find color-coded candles at most Catholic book stores, but even the cheapest votives will serve the purpose.
- I know of one dad who leaves for work before his family wakes up. He lets them know he has already prayed for them by lighting a candle on their family prayer table. When his kids see his great example each day, it reminds them to begin their day with prayer as well.
- I love the idea of family processions through the house and yard for different occasions (Epiphany, Christmas Eve, etc.), but don't like small children carrying open flames near flammable surfaces. Enclosed candle holders, like this one my daughter found at Sears, work well and look a little like the swinging processional torches we see at Tridentine Mass. (Yes, just a little.)
- Our church's religious ed. program has a strong family component which involves weekly lessons done at home. It is the custom of many families to light a candle during lesson time as a way to set it apart as something uniquely sacred.
- Light your children's Baptismal candles to commemorate that wonderful day when Christ first came to dwell within them. (I have to admit, I am terrible about this one. I think all their candles are tucked into a cedar chest in a bedroom.) We've also received candles as part of a First Holy Communion prayer service, prior to the big day. These two days are among the most important in your life - don't forget to celebrate!
There will be subsequent posts about finding art for your prayer space, sewing cloths, and maybe one or two other things. As always, we'd love to read your great ideas and invite you to comment!