I had my first residential christmas tree sighting today! People, it's still November! Lets do Advent first.
For the last few years we have had an advent wreath; the kids like it. This year we are also going to do a Jesse tree. Patrick drew the tree, and today we put on our first stickers. (Stickers are easier than making ornaments, and in my mind, the less I have to do the better!) This year we are going to try to follow the Holy Heroes Advent Adventure. This is an excellent Catholic programme. It is delivered by children, articulate, catholic children. I haven't meet many of those in this part of the world! They post a video on their site each day, telling a Bible story etc., and so it involves no thought. I do not buy any of the books, cds or anything from their site. It is not necessary. The children can watch the video, draw the picture, and read the Bible verses. Hopefully, these activities will help them to understand that for thousands of years people were waiting and preparing - just as they are waiting and preparing now - for Jesus, not Santa, for J-E-S-U-S. Holy Heros also encourages wonderful things like, "a decade a day", an advent sacrafice list, and the essential advent confession. What more could I want?
Here is an example of how not to do Advent, from Alive-O 7,
(National Religious Education Programme for Ireland)
Patient PeopleAdvent is like a waiting room
for those who take time to make
an appointment with the Spirit of Christmas,
the real one, that is, not the fake
that’s everywhere available, twenty-four seven
and in jingling tills rejoices;
the one you plug-in and it squawks ‘Merry Christmas’
in battery-operated voices;
the one whose lights get brighter and brasher
with every year that goes by,
as they try to outdo each other:
they’ll never outshine that star in the sky.
Those who have made an appointment
with the true spirit of Christmas know
that waiting rooms are unpopular places
in today’s world of get-up-and-go.
What can you do in a waiting room
and wait … till the time is right
and the door to Christmas swings open
and patient people gain insight
to the Christian meaning of Christmas
which sings out in true festive voice,
‘Come! Your waiting is over!
Emmanuel! God with us! Rejoice!’