Thursday, November 24, 2011

Advent upon us

This Sunday the holy season of Advent begins.

This past week I made my annual trip to purchase my candles for the Advent wreath.

Many will take advantage of the weather this weekend and put up their Christmas decorations.

Have you ever noticed that even at Halloween time the Christmas decorations are put out at many homes and are lighted until either the day after Christmas or New Year’s Day? Then there are those who don’t put decorations up until either the middle of December or the week of Christmas. Their trimmings are left up until 12th Night Epiphany when the Wise Men reached the stable where the Christ Child was born. Many leave their decorated trees up for weeks after that, especially those who have artificial trees. At our house the tree is real and generally goes up just a few days before Christmas and comes down after Epiphany and then there are plenty of needles to sweep up.

The Advent Wreath comes in many kinds. It can be a green artificial wreath, one you can purchase in most craft shops or department stores. They can also be wire that you can place greens on, wooden forms with greens, Styrofoam circles, many, many types. If the wreath is fresh and you have kept it, the greens might need either freshening up with a sprinkle of water, or if it has faded purchase a can of green spray paint and give it a few squirts. Some folks use different colored candles. I prefer the three purple, one pink for the fourth Sunday of Advent and the white Christmas Eve or Day candles for the middle of the wreath. If your wreath doesn’t have a center holder, take a glass holder and place in the center of the wreath.

Be very careful; watch it like a hawk while it’s burning because it can be a fire hazard, especially if there are little ones around.

There is something special about Advent which means waiting, preparation, for that holiest of days. We seem to get so caught up in all of our Christmas preparations. We tend to get so busy with meetings, exercises in school, plays, concerts, parties that along the way we almost forget the spiritual meaning of the Christmas season.

The Advent Calendar is another way of preparing for the holidays and is the one thing that is so meaningful for children. They can be purchased at many shops, especially religious stores. If you purchase the one that has the “doors” on certain days before Christmas and you have placed a small gift behind it, the children get so excited but also realize how many more days there are until that big holiday. There are those that can be kept from year to year to enjoy or there are the paper ones with the inexpensive gifts placed behind dates. Having this item in the home helps keep the kids toned down a bit during this festive season.

With just the few things going on and knowing that pace will quicken and get more hectic and frantic, is it any wonder that we must make ourselves stop at least each weekend for the wreath and days for the calendar and remember what the Advent season really means? Think about having either an Advent Wreath or Calendar at your house. It gives the children the real meaning of Christmas.

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