Here we are in Advent already and what a short Advent it will be too!  There are four Sundays in Advent and this year the fourth Sunday is also Christmas Eve.

The Advent Crown at our church.

During Advent we wait for Jesus Christ and we do this in three ways; in the past, in the present and in the future.  We accompany Mary and Joseph on their journey to Bethlehem and welcome the baby Jesus who was born in a stable.  We prepare ourselves for the celebration of Christ’s birth this year and try to make the occasion more than just presents and food.  Thirdly, we think about and anticipate the second coming of Jesus Christ when He will come in power and glory and his kingdom will be established here on earth as it is in heaven.

The Advent Crown Elinor and I made at home.

The first way I find the easiest despite Christmas having become such a secular festival.  The second way isn’t too difficult either.  I know the story of the birth of Christ and it is in my mind so much during December.  I read the accounts of it in the Bible, I sing carols and Christmas songs and I attend church services.  We talk about it at home.  The third way is the hardest.  I try to keep Advent as a time of reflection.  I think about my behaviour and any bad habits I might have and think how I should improve myself.  I remind myself of Christ’s instructions to us about how we should act and think.  The trouble is, I very easily get caught up in the pre-Christmas madness and find myself panicking about things that are of no real importance at all.  Do I have presents for everyone?  What if I forget someone!  If I don’t start writing the cards soon they won’t get there on time!  Will I have enough food for everyone?  Look at those dirty windows!  When will I get an opportunity to clean the house?  I’m never going to get everything done on time!  My quiet, reflective mood disappears and I moan and complain to anyone who’ll listen to me.  It was much easier to keep Advent as Advent when I was younger.  People didn’t start their Christmas shopping ’til much nearer the festival.  Decorations weren’t put up as early as they are now and things were much simpler.  Now that sounds like an old person speaking!

The Advent Calendar.

Last year we held an Advent service in church which I enjoyed very much.  No carols but Advent hymns, solemn and beautiful.  This year we will have a Carol service on the 20th and we will go to Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve as usual.  We have an Advent Crown or Wreath at church and as each Sunday passes we light one more candle until on Christmas Eve all four are lit.

The Advent Candle.

We have an Advent Crown at home too, and an Advent Candle and Advent Calendars!  We mark each day as it passes and Christmas comes ever closer.

My music choice is J S Bach’s Cantata for the First Sunday in Advent.

May I wish you all a happy and peaceful Advent!

My dear friend Lisa wrote a lovely comment on this post but it has mysteriously disappeared!  I have looked for it and cannot find it on my WordPress account.  Fortunately, I had a copy of the comment in my e-mail folder but I cannot copy it into the comments below so I’ve put it here!

Clare, it may (or may not) be that you sound like an old lady(!), but it’s the truth!  And I was that way myself for many years, and only lately am I increasingly seeing how strange it is that everyone is celebrating Christmas before it comes, only to be sick of it right after New Year and want to put away all the decorations and be free of it all.  But it’s impossible to resist getting into the early spirit of things when we’re all decorated at the library, playing Christmas music and will have our party at work on Friday.  So we have to do the best we can, I guess.  At home, I’m putting out my decorations a little here, a little there, slowly.  (and trying to do fall cleaning, plan making cookies, do all the cards, finish shopping etc. – impossible!)  I hope your Advent journey brings you through all the busyness and confusion in the right way.  xoxo

Your Advent Crown is so pretty!  The two of you are quite artistic, I think.  And thanks to Gallivanta for the Literary Advent link – I like it.

Thank-you very much for your lovely comment, Lisa.  I can imagine that your library is very jolly and festive at the moment.  Have a wonderful party on Friday!  I think one of my main gripes is the commercialisation of Christmas and seeing Christmas food for sale in the shops at the end of October!  So many people here decorate their homes at the beginning of December and then throw out their Christmas tree and decorations on Boxing Day the 26th December – only the second day of Christmas!  I hope you manage to get all your Christmas preparations done on time and you have a little time for rest and pleasure xx

Lisa can be found here at Searchingforabalance.blogspot.co.uk

Another comment has disappeared in the same way, this time from Annika Perry!

Clare, this is a delightful thoughtful and reflective post.  You have a beautiful advent candle at home…so Christmassy!  We sit down every Sunday to light ours; a moment of stillness in the crazy busy days, of being together.  The sense of anticipation builds and I always feel it’s extra special when the fourth advent falls on Christmas Eve!  Haha!  Yep, everything Christmas seems to be pushed further back into December or even earlier – I try to rein it in until the actual month and only had the tree up last weekend as we had a little family party.  People throw the tree out on Boxing Day!!!  How sad!  Here’s to enjoying the peace, absorbing the joy and time for one another.

Thank-you very much, Annika.  Yes, I like the fourth Sunday in Advent being on Christmas Eve too.  Two celebrations on one day!  ‘Here’s to enjoying the peace, absorbing the joy and time for one another’ – yes, yes!!  I couldn’t agree more, Annika!

Annika can be found here at annikaperry.com