Today is Advent Sunday in the church calendar, the day when preparations for Christmas officially begin.  Of course, in the retail world, preparations for Christmas began as soon as the Hallowe’en stock was removed, or in some cases even earlier.  And other aspects of festive activity have also begun in earnest – baking of cakes, rehearsals for nativity plays and pantomimes, switching on of lights and selection of presents.  But in the church, Advent Sunday is the day when we are supposed to begin spiritual preparation, looking forward to the celebration of Christ’s birth, or rather of his incarnation.

As well as the opportunity (sadly missed this year) to get cracking with singing ‘O Come, O Come Emmanuel’, the start of advent means something very specific.  In my house, it means decorations!  The boxes of sparkly, shiny objects, the Christmas trees, the sack of cuddly toys with a vague Christmas theme and the bag of tinsel will not make an appearance until this day of days.  And then, the level of activity is high.  Furniture must be moved (unearthing long-forgotten dog toys in the process), lights must be strung on the plants in the front window, nativity sets must be compared and re-arranged, and tinsel must adorn every possible location.  The cellophane will be removed from this year’s edition of Carols For a Cure, and the tracks will be listened to and variously enjoyed, discussed and laughed at.  A lengthy conversation about the optimum date for viewing the Muppets Christmas Carol will ensue.  There is little that is overtly spiritual in all of this, but it is an important time for the household, a few hours to share and enjoy, a ritual which has become an essential part of the rhythm of our lives.


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  1. I think I enjoy the Christmas ritual preparations more than the day itself. We break out the festive music (Carols from Kings’, Swingle Singers, that sort of thing), and I make latkes for Hanukah, and then there’s the ceremonial Eating of the Mince Pie, and the day set aside to do Christmas cards and get glitter all over the kitchen, and the prolonged bickering over which Christmas specials to tape, which to watch live, and which to ignore. *sigh*

    It’s meaningful in a way it’s hard to articulate. I’m not religious, so that whole spiritual dimension should, technically, be lacking for me, and yet this festival of family and light and love buried in the dark of the year moves me every time.

  2. Advent is my favourite season. I’m trying to write a blog post about it, but I can’t seem to find the words to say what I want to say. Your (and Reed’s) preparations sound like fun!

    • Trish
    • November 29th, 2010

    I watched Muppets Christmas Carol last night 🙂

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