We are to write about Advent this week. I never celebrated Advent when I was growing up; my family was far from religious. When I chose to enter the Catholic Church, I put up Advent wreaths of three purple, one pink/rose candle and did so until some years ago. I am not sure when I stopped or why. Frankly, although I had my kids say prayers with me some of those years, they just never meant a lot. What was comforting is that I would allow them all to burn down while I made preparations during Christmas Eve.
pre-Vatican Council II, (when so much changed), Advent was more of a mini-Lent, complete with sacrifice and some fasting. My husband and I were married on December 3, 1982, which was during Advent. That never would have been allowed in times past.
Maybe there is something to be said with a little sacrifice and spiritual preparation for the celebration of Christmas…Heaven knows this year I need it. I just can’t get into the Christmas spirit.
I have many Christmas decorations and I leave them up until Epiphany, the Coming of the Wise Men, twelve days after Christmas, (as in “The Twelve Days of Christmas”). It used to be a big deal with Christians, but it seems to have basically been lost. Most people are sick of all the Christmas hoopla long before then, but don’t expect me to go through all the trouble of decorating just to take it all down on December 26th.
A few years ago a friend in Mumbai called me the day after Christmas and wished me a “Happy Boxing Day”. That is a custom that never took hold in America. A fellow food blogger in Australia shared her “Boxing Day” experiences with us and it seems a great deal like the American Thanksgiving with food, friends and family, laid-back and relaxed.
But I digress. I sit here with my little Christmas tree up, but it is bare. We had clear, warm weather for several days and I had the foresight to bring the decorations in from the garage, but here the unopened boxes sit. I think part of my problem has been that many radio stations started playing Christmas music exclusively on November 1st, where they used to wait until at least Thanksgiving evening, if not the next day. Frankly, I’m burned out on “Holly, Jolly Christmas” and mind you, I have a fifth grader practicing it on the violin, too, in preparation for his Christmas recital.(Suffice it to say that I am NOT putting money away to buy a Stradivarius.)
But even as I type this I have the oldies station on in the background and Jose Feliciano is wishing me a Merry Christmas from the bottom of his heart in two languages. I am going to take it as a sign, since I really had no idea where I was going with this, (having just gotten my computer back from the PC hospital this afternoon).
I have usually started my Christmas baking by now, but today I will be with my granddaughters and their sister Girl Scouts to whom I am going to teach to decorate Graham cracker “Gingerbread” Houses. I am going to pull out my favorite Christmas CD’s, play my favorite Christmas movies and I’ll get in the mood if it kills me.
So I will sign off, so I can find something appropriate for a grandmother to wear to at least look like she has caught the Christmas Spirit, to spread the joy, if possible.