If you’re a churchgoer of the traditional persuasion you may already know that the church year started on Sunday. The first Sunday in Advent is the first day of the church year.
Somehow it’s not having the same effect on me as January 1st does. There’s something about the world having a huge party the night before, and a public holiday, that makes New Years Day feel special.
Having said that, I felt like I wanted to do something for Advent this year. I want to make the lead up to Christmas something different. To prepare myself.
I am not one of those who puts a Christmas tree up in November. If you are one, more power to you. I find I’ve had enough of the tree taking up my living room once it’s been there a couple of weeks, so I wait a little longer to put it up.
I am also not organised enough to make up an Advent calendar of any significance, and I don’t want to eat extra chocolate every day before Christmas. (I was going to say, ‘eat chocolate every day’ but I realised that I’m probably going to do that anyway if the past few weeks are any indication.)
Just an aside, I have really great friends who have done an amazing thing for their kids. They’ve made up an advent calendar, in each little draw there are a few pieces of Lego and a page of instructions. Each day, the girls will pull out the draw and add something to the growing Lego construction. At Christmas time they will have a full Lego toy, and it’s one of those three-in-one things so they’ll be able to pull it apart and make the other two on Christmas day.
I was never going to do something that organised.
But I decided that there was something small that I could do to make the time seem a little more special and that is Advent candles.
I went to the local everything cheap store (and marvelled at the overwhelming amount of sugar wrapped in plastic junk that is available to all of us). I found (eventually) some candles, and then after a little more searching I found candles that were unscented (so I don’t spend the whole of Advent with a stuffed up nose). And I found a little board.
I’ve made my own Advent thingy. It’s not really a wreath, it doesn’t have greenery. But it’s Advent-ish.
Each Sunday I will light another candle. One for each of the Sundays, and the purple one for Jesus on Christmas day.
I chose not to worry about the pink one for the ‘Joy’ Sunday, and I think that technically all the white candles should be purple, and the purple one, white. But see the earlier comments about scent. All the purple candles in the store were scented and one candle is more than enough scent for me.
I’m hoping that lighting candles each week gives enough of a slow down moment to make the lead up to Christmas less hectic as I take the time to remember what it’s all about.
Oh and I saw this amazing Advent calendar on Facebook that I thought I’d share with you too. Maybe we can make this month a precious and joyful time and put some good back into the world.
What are your Advent traditions? When does your tree go up? Is anyone else doing a clever Advent calendar of some sort?