Rev’s Reflection December 2023
The BBC children’s programme Blue Peter made one for over 50 years, churches have them, you might find a single one in the shops to pop on the dining table….. what am I referring to? The humble Advent Candle(s).
I remember Blue Peter making their Advent Crown out of wire coat hangers, lengths of tinsel, all liberally adorned with baubles. Churches may have an Advent Wreath where purple candles or a combination of purple, pink & white stand waiting to be lit one at a time as the Sundays of Advent roll by. Our homes may have something similar, or a single candle measured with 1–24 markers slowly reducing in size as the season of Advent progresses and Christmas Day draws near. There would be the inevitable missed days in our house followed by an intense concentration of candlelight whilst we tried to make up for lost time.
Advent Calendars on the other hand is big business filled with such things as chocolate, cheese, Lego, perfume and even jewels for those with deep pockets. Most start on the 1st of December regardless of whether we have entered Advent or not, whilst others skip days altogether and only contain 12 doors to open… how infuriating. I meanwhile still love my simple cardboard Advent Calendar with a nativity scene. It’s slightly battered now but it takes me willingly back to my childhood when life felt simpler, and Christmas meant making paper chains and decorating Christmas cards with cotton wool and glitter.
Things can be so much busier now and Christmas for many heads our way in a blur. We are in the shops or logging into Amazon, puzzling over the cost of stamps and whether to post Christmas cards, wondering about Christmas Crackers, debating how many years that bottle of Advocaat has sat in the back of the sideboard, rushing to put up the tree because the children have seen next door do theirs, trying to get out of the office party, worrying how many tears will be shed at the nativity and will it be the children or adults that crack first… and phew…. the lists and pressures build. Health and hospital appointments may keep us awake at night, money worries similarly and as for the news headlines, well they speak for themselves.
May I suggest we all take a breath as we travel through Advent towards Christmas. Those moments of stillness and silence are there if we look hard enough and just maybe, if we pause and reflect, the gift of peace and hope that lay within a manger on that first Christmas night, might be felt by us all.
Advent & Christmas Blessings ‘All glory be to God on high, and to the earth be peace…’