Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Advent, advent, the candle burns

                                             Advent, advent the  candle burns,
                                             Advent advent the candle burns,
                                             First one then two then three then four,
                                             Then stands the Christ child at the door.

These days of Advent are so busy, and at a time when the earth is drawing it's energy down, deep into a midwinter slumber, it feels as if we should do the same. We're not really. The days are running faster than my mind and my ever ringing phone. That's why, in the midst of hauling timber around our building plot, racing to school (late again) for the pick up, cooking vats of soup for hungry helpers, helping with homework and sewing projects, it feels so good to remember Advent.

Every evening we light our advent wreath before our meal blessing, one candle last week, two this week, three the next....
And every evening we walk Mary and Joseph a step further on their golden star path to Bethlehem, and sing the Mary song.
Last night, I played the tune first on my recorder and as we sang I could see the day's frenzy dropping from the little ones... they snuggled down next to the Advent table on their sheepskins, heads on my lap. Instead of a bedtime story from a book, they begged for a Mary one and I told them about a land far away where olive and lemon trees grew and a tired donkey lived in a stable near a young woman named Mary.
It was a beautiful moment and felt like a balm which soothed the rough and fractious edges of my day. These small, special moments of reverence and magic are so easy to pass by and forget, but they nourish me so deeply when I remember. And peace for the poor hurried children in these rushed weeks before Christmas. I crave peace and serenity and a rest. It's hard to find, and moments like this are like gold.

How is Advent for your family? Do you manage to steal quiet moments of anticipation and reflection amidst the overwhelming onslaught of fulfilling expectations at Christmas?


  1. Gosh, that brought back memories seeing Mary's Star Path! We used to do that every year when my girls were little.

  2. So lovely. I have a bit of quandary when it comes to the religious side of things because my husband is not Christian. I have told my little one a loose tale of the birth of Jesus but he is only 2 (3 in Feb), so it wasn't too complicated. My husband doesn't mind in principal but I know it makes him uncomfortable. For my own part, my Mother was Church of Scotland and my Father was Roman Catholic, so confusing isn't it lol.

  3. I confess that much to my children's sorrow, I have always found Christmas dreadfully difficult for all the reasons so beautifully put in the next post, Henrietta!
    Now, after years of guilt mixed with regret (Christmas is actually terribly special for me too!) I will be in quiet, blessed solitude on a hillside farm in Sicily, with no power, just water, logs and candlelight... an outdoor double burner and gas cylinder to cook on and ample supplies of scrummy olive oil. Despite knowing that we approach the nativity, somehow this only catches me when I have allowed myself time In nature and then, as if by Grace, the age old traditions of the nativity work their way through to my awareness, and I can begin to sense their comfort and hope. Over the years, art at Anne-Marie's has often been the trigger to a profound quiet and real experience. I hope I can create something of that for myself in the beauty of my surroundings this year.
    Wishing you all many blessings and Peace as you celebrate together... and watertight walls and roof over you heads. Lots of love, Jenny xx

  4. Who wrote this poem?


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