Sisters, please tell me I am not the only one who has, admittedly more than once in my life, lost a palm from Palm Sunday.
Some time in between folding it into a cross after Mass (like my mom always did) and remembering to actually do something with it, I have completely forgotten where I put it, only to find it in the back of my desk drawer or the glove compartment of my car a few weeks (months?) later. It’s no way to treat a sacramental* and it doesn’t do anything for me spiritually when I can’t see it on a regular basis, let alone remember where it is.
This year, I want to do something different.
Remembering the Meaning Behind the Palm Sunday Palm
This year, every time I see the palm, I want to call to mind the words of the Palm Sunday Gospel:
“Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that is to come! Hosanna in the highest!” (Mark 11:9-10)
This year, I want to be continually reminded of the role my sins played in crucifying my Lord—that I am no better than the Jews who greeted Jesus with rejoicing and then turned around and called out for Barabbas to be freed.
This year, I want to let the sight of the palm stop me in my tracks and inspire me to rest in the truth that Jesus conquered death, that He opened the gates of heaven, and that He wants me to spend eternity with Him.
How to Display Palm Sunday Palms Around Your Home
How blessed are we to be a part of a Church that gives us tangible opportunities to be reminded of all of those things and more through something as simple as a palm branch? Let’s keep them out of our glove compartments this year—instead, here are a few ideas of places to display a palm in a meaningful and respectful way.
1. Tuck it behind a crucifix or a piece of religious art.
While these items hanging on your wall already remind you of our Faith, adding a palm can serve two additional purposes. One, it will make the wall look different and draw your eyes to it, leading you to gaze upon the cross or an image that resonates with you more often. Two, the presence of greenery reminds us that our faith is something that is alive—it’s not something limited to the days of the Bible or to the time of a conversion. God is always at work in our lives and in our hearts.
2. Add it to your Easter centerpiece.
I love the idea of keeping home décor simple and minimal during Lent and then pulling out all of the stops for Easter Sunday: painted eggs, spring colors, and of course, plenty of fresh flowers. A palm or two would make a meaningful and beautiful accent to a vase filled with lilies, tulips, or whatever flowers you choose to arrange for your joyful Easter table. Once you’re no longer using the centerpiece, be sure to carefully dry the palm and then choose one of the other options for displaying it.
3. Place it in your Bible.
A palm folded in half serves as a perfect bookmark for a page in your Bible that you want to refer back to again and again throughout the year. Not sure where to put it? You can’t go wrong with the Canticle of Mary (Luke 1:46-55), the Sermon the Mount (Matthew 5), or Jesus’ Passion (John 18-19), to name a few.
4. Add it to your gallery wall.
In an effort to incorporate more religious art into our home that also seamlessly fit with our décor, my husband and I added a gallery wall to our living room last year. Much to our delight, it is now one of the most frequently complimented details in our home! My favorite nugget of advice for someone hoping to create their own? Include a mix of flat photographs/artwork and three-dimensional objects. For example, along with a handful of our favorite framed pieces, ours features a crucifix, a holy water font, and a Rosary. Whether you fold your palm into a cross and add it to your display or simply attach it as is, the unique addition is sure to add deeper meaning to the wall (and look beautiful to boot).
5. Display it in a narrow vase.
If you have a long palm, you may need to fold it in half first. Let it serve as a reminder to pray without ceasing and place it somewhere you’ll see it often. If you have a specific family prayer table or feast table, that is a wonderful option, but if not, opt for a spot where you could use the reminder to pray—perhaps on a kitchen windowsill where you’ll see it when doing dishes, on your bedside table, or on a (high!) shelf outside of your children’s bedrooms or playroom.
What to Do With Your Palm Sunday Palms
Before Palm Sunday of next year, you can either return the palms to your church (they’re often burned for the ashes used on Ash Wednesday) or burn or bury them to return them to the earth in a dignified way. I pray that by then, we will have experienced some sweet and unexpected graces as a result of being reminded of today’s feast day throughout the year!
How have you displayed palms in your home?
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*“… sacred signs which bear a resemblance to the sacraments. They signify effects, particularly of a spiritual nature, which are obtained through the intercession of the Church. By them men are disposed to receive the chief effect of the sacraments, and various occasions in life are rendered holy.” -CCC 1667