Sunday, November 20, 2016

Preparing Our Hearts for Advent

It doesn't feel like New Year's Eve, does it?  Yet, in some ways, it is. 

Here we are, once again at the end of a liturgical calendar year.  It is Christ the King Sunday, a holiday that has never been dear to my heart.  But this year, the message that Christ serves as a different kind of king seems particularly appropriate.

Next Sunday, it's on to Advent, one of my favorite seasons.  I keep several kinds of Advent.  I am as susceptible to Christmas frenzy as the next person, so for part of Advent, I'm listening to Christmas CDs and baking cookies.  But I also keep a contemplative corner of Advent, where I am more diligent about reading the sacred texts and lighting the Advent candles.

This year's Advent readings come from Isaiah--ah, apocalyptic Isaiah.  I am oddly ready.  It has been an apocalyptic year, both nationally in terms of the election, and personally, in terms of those dear to me losing jobs and battling disease and all the challenges that come with a life coming all in the same short period of time.  The Advent readings will be an appropriate way to end the calendar year.

I have already done some Christmas decorating, but I won't light the small trees that we have until after Thanksgiving, a compromise with my spouse, who doesn't want to move on to Christmas until after Thanksgiving.  In a way, I understand.

Over the next few days, I will buy some blue candles for the Advent wreath--the dripless kind this year.  Our straw Advent wreath is covered in wax.  I do worry about the fire hazard, but we don't leave it unattended.

Some years, I have a Christmas tablescape early on:  a red table cloth, a small tree.  This year, though, I'm going to commit to Advent on the dining room table.  I'll post pictures once I have it set up.  And then, on the Monday after the last Sunday in Advent, I'll change out the linens. 

Some people are sad when Christmas comes on a Sunday, but I like the extra time in the season that we get this year.  Today is a good day to spend some time planning for the kind of Advent season you'd like to have.

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