Thursday, December 05, 2013

Advent, then Christmas

A comment on my post yesterday got me to thinking. I observe Advent - the figurative time of waiting for the coming of the Christ Child that begins four Sundays before Christmas Day. It's an old tradition, one of preparation, of anticipation, of longing. Yet, like most North Americans (Canadians and US citizens), I have called this season Christmas, from the first of Advent to New Year's and Epiphany. I'm going to change that, at least in my own mind. 

In our western culture, we tend to avoid waiting for anything, wanting instant gratification, instant joy. "Why wait? Do it now" is an advertisement I used to hear. But as I read in a beautiful blog post by Sarah Bessey yesterday, "Advent is for the ones who know longing."

As I observe Advent, I wait for the time of celebration to come. I wait in the physical here and now, knowing that on Christmas Day there will be feasting and joy, gifts and light as I delight in the observance of Christ's arrival to the dark world. I also wait symbolically, knowing that this world is often a dark place, full of sorrow, pain and suffering, a world which needs the light and salvation promised by Christ's birth. I wait in a future sense, knowing that one day, some day, all things will be made right.

Friko commented on yesterday's post, "...I come from the land of a long run-up to Christmas, a long festive and contemplative period."

Christmas joy is coming. It's just around the corner. I can wait. I can contemplate. And so, it's beginning to look a lot like Advent around here. Angels line the mantel, ready to trumpet the good news.


  1. Happy Advent to you, Lorrie.
    I'm waiting too..... and not just for CHRISTmas! Those twins are still hanging in there.
    Enjoy this season.
    xo Carole

  2. I wish you a blessed Advent coming up and a season filled with joy and peace.

    Mersad Donko Photography

  3. Lovely mantel...I very much like the cedar tucked in and around the figures. After a day of fighting tree lights wars, I think my mind is mush. Otherwise, I might have something brilliant to add. = D

  4. Lorrie,

    I love this. Beautiful words.

    I also like the greenery on the mantle - simple beauty.


  5. I was raised with the Advent season - the wreath was there from as long as I can remember. We began to celebrate Christmas on the 24th and continued to January 6th. I still keep Advent and don't fully decorate the house as early as most, waiting until later in December, but I leave everything up until The Feast of the Three Kings, or Epiphany, or January 6th....whatever people choose to call it. I find the instant setting up of all things 'Christmas' at the end of November and followed by a mad tear-down on the 26th to be odd ....and it makes me uncomfortable.

  6. Some years I get the advent wreath together and some I don't, but I always sink into contemplation before Christmas. There's so much to mull over -- light and dark, hope and despair.

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  8. That's a lovely mantel and a lovely post!

  9. It's true, Advent was such a rich part of my tradition growing up -- the changes in liturgical garments, altar cloths, the lighting of the candles in their magnificent wreath. My parents never put up the tree until perhaps the 22nd, but then we savoured it . . . and it was generally left up until Epiphany. And much of Advent was focussed on secret gifts being made or thought about or wrapped and hidden -- less time in the malls. . . Or at least so I remember, but perhaps my nostalgia is deceptive. . . .thanks for the reminder.

  10. Love this post...... and love your mantle. (I'm reading backwards as you can tell...) Being a Methodist, I'm very familiar with the season of Advent. I do love the waiting!

  11. I like that...'it's beginning to look a lot like Advent' mantel. Waiting and anticipating is good!

  12. I Love that ..."a long festive and contemplative run up to Christmas" YES!

  13. Beautiful words and photo! I love the idea of waiting in anticipation for God's gift to us.

  14. Beautiful post, I confess I am terrible at waiting. I still feel like that 5 yrd in me. Clarice
    ps. Love your mantle, especially that embroidery piece!!


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