A few days ago I read a cracking post from my friend Broad, in which she reminded us all that “Advent is not Christmas”. It was a clarion call to put all the rush and bustle of the pre-Christmas season into perspective and remember what it is that we are preparing for.
I have always loved the season of Advent, especially because, long before its religious significance truly came alive for me, our first child, our son, was born on Advent Sunday. DH and I had recently graduated and were poor as church mice, but felt very rich indeed as that Christmas approached.
Years later, at some point every Advent DD and I would drive home from church singing our favourite Advent hymn, the ancient and beautiful O Come, O Come, Emmanuel with its hauntingly solemn melody. The version I've chosen reminds me of my long-ago student days, when I too sang in my college chapel choir, though without the dignified robes.
Nowadays, Advent for me is a time of expectant waiting for the joy of Christmas to come. Neither my house nor our church is decorated as yet and won’t be until shortly before Christmas. Traditionally Advent is solemn, even austere, rather than celebratory, so that the celebrations, when they arrive, are heightened by the quiet waiting which has preceded them. Counter-cultural, perhaps, in the 21st century, and not easy to achieve in the pre-Christmas frenzy that surrounds us all, but it works for me every time. However you mark it, I hope that Advent will be peaceful and contented for you too.
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