15 November 2011

Old Advent

Did you know that at one time the season of Advent was as long as Lent?

Where Lent was a preparation period for Easter, so Advent was for Christmas. For forty days, starting on November 15, you were to meditate on the idea of the son of God coming to earth as an ordinary baby, to grow as all men did. Not an omnipotent God from on high, but a regular man who needed physical sustenance to survive, a mother's love, a father's guidance, friends to play with, as well as the awareness of his own purpose. The long days of Advent are there for us to ponder that miracle and that of our own existence.

More than likely many have been preparing for Christmas already, from the first time the hint of a Christmas commercial—the Glade Christmas candle ads began in mid-October!—started a frantic routine of buying gifts, getting a jump on holiday menus, decorating the home. But is that what Christmas is really all about? I for one love buying or making gifts for those I love. I have friends whose very delight is to deck every house corner with Chritmas color and glow and glitter. Others I know take pleasure in baking days to provide a lovely spread on their dining table. And there it is all well and good, have you the funds and the energy to do so.

But so much of Christmas appears to be an obligatory one if one is to believe not only the advertising rammed at you from every corner but the yearly complaints from every quarter...you MUST buy this gift to show love, you MUST make this cake and those cookies decorated just so to be the perfect hostess, your decorations must be of a certain caliber.

Whether or not you also celebrate Christmas as the birth of a Savior or just as a secular feast, Christmas is about LOVE. Not the quantity of the gifts or the food, but about the love shown by sharing, whether food, gifts, or yourself. Let Advent be your time to prepare for a Christmas that you love, then enjoy Christmastide itself, not just December 25, but the rest of the holiday as well. Think, plan, consider, read, meditate, pray if you so choose...but enjoy!

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