Advent Sunday, or the first day of Advent, is the first day of the new Liturgical year in Catholic Calender. (Many orthodox Christian religions observe this as a well.) The story of salvation begins again, to be retold from Christ’s birth, through his death, resurrection, and the beginnings of the church.
Advent (which means “the coming”) is time of preparing for the first momentous event: Jesus’s birthday. It is also a mini-Lent, to give us a specific time and occasion to deepen the habit of self-giving.
By now, there s a radio station in every town that is playing non stop Christmas songs, which will persist in making us all sick of jingle bells, right up until the day after Christmas when all music and decoration will mysteriously disappear. This is all part of an odd conspiracy to celebrate holidays before they actually happen.
The actual “Twelve Days of Christmas” start on Christmas and last until Epiphany on January 6th, but very few people seem to realize that. One of my professors who had grown up in the Deep South told me there is a superstition that bad luck will haunt the house that leaves up Christmas Decorations on the day after Christmas. She said that this tradition was born out of distaste for anything smacking of “popery” or “high church”.
As the token Papist here, I would like to challenge that superstition. I am busting out my mad Advent wreath making skills, (yes, those candles are glued to a plate with gorilla glue,) and saving my mini plastic tree until Christmas. And I will leave it up until Epiphany! (If anything bad happens to me, I promise to let you know.)
So let’s bring back actual Advent: filled with patience, charity, and delayed gratification! I promise that it will make Christmas so much sweeter! Unlike Lent, we can say the “A” word, (alleluia,) but it does helps to have real Advent music. Ecce! Go forth and prepare!
And in case you need a breath of Christmassy cheer and reminder of what we are REALLY preparing for, watch the bets Christmas pageant ever performed.