Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Advent Adventures

This year, for a holiday change of pace, I made a traditional Advent wreath. Well, sort of traditional. I might have broken a few rules...

^ Typically, the four candles - three purple and one pink - are supposed to be the tall taper types. But several years ago, I made these colored candle holders because I always forgot to buy the special candles. With these little fellows, I can slip plain white candles inside and end up with the proper colors.

By tradition, the candles are supposed to be surrounded by a wreath of evergreen boughs. As in fir or pine. But you know, I've got a pot of ivy growing right outside my front door, and its leaves are still bright and fresh. So doesn't that technically mean that ivy is also an evergreen? Yep. I thought so too.

Baubles? No. Pine cones or red berries, maybe, but there is no time-honored practice of adding bling to the ceremonial arrangement. However, I think that if the medieval Europeans had shopped at Target, they definitely would have grabbed a few sparkly bits to liven up the look. 

Since this is the first week of Advent, I lit just one of the purple candles. Each week, an additional candle is lit, so that by the end of the four weeks, all four are burning bright. I may be a rebel about other aspects of the Advent wreath, but I'm a huge stickler over lighting protocol.

Each candle has a special theme: hope, love, joy and peace. For reasons that completely escape me, the pink candle represents joy, and I think that's very sweet.

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If Thanksgiving is a tall, friendly uncle in a scratchy tweed sports jacket who wraps me up in a hug so big and warm that he lifts my feet right off the ground, then the next season in my holiday calendar - Advent - is the whisper of a small child who sits next to me and holds my hand.

Avent is four precious weeks of waiting, watching, and wondering as the festival of Christmas approaches. 

It's a time for families to draw close, to light a candle, to talk about the First Christmas, and to ponder anew the mysteries of that holy day.

Yes, it's fair to use this time to plan, prepare and purchase for the spectacle of a post-modern Christmas, but Advent is so much more than shopping lists, decking the halls, and plopping sweet treats into the mouths of babes. 

During this year's Advent, which started yesterday, I want to play at Christmas - to explore, imagine, create and respond to this season every day. I'm not going to make a plan or set any specific goals for myself. That's way too adult-ish. 

Like a child, I'm going to let Advent have its way with me and I'm looking forward to seeing what might happen. 

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Wanna see some of my other Advent wreath arrangements?

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Read more about my Advent adventures:

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