Thursday, December 8, 2011

Christmas is coming.

Finishing the kitchen in September/October was wonderful because it meant I got to accessorize my new burnt-orange walls with fall decorations.  I loved the bookshelf decorations, and kept it up well past Thanksgiving:

Now, we've moved on to a season that's slightly less compatible with those lovely orange walls.  You're probably thinking red and green.  True, that won't go well with orange; but for now I've got a nice mix of purple, pink, and orange.

If you're confused, perhaps I can remind you that it's not Christmas yet.  Christmas is coming.  Adventus.  (Latin for "coming").  We're celebrating Advent, preparing for Christmas.  I honestly can't give you a great explanation as to why the colors are pink and purple, but then again I also couldn't do very well with explaining red and green for Christmas, either.  I do know that the Church uses purple during times of repentance and reflection, which is exactly what this time is designed to be.

I've become quite frustrated, this year in particular, that our culture has not only over-commercialized Christmas, but has totally revolutionized the timeline.  It seems common these days to celebrate Christmas (or at least be totally immersed and obsessed with preparations) from the day after Thanksgiving until December 25.  And then, abruptly, on the very day commemorating the Nativity of Our Lord, people think it's over.  

In reality, now is just the time to be ready.  Not with presents and cookies and ornaments, but with our hearts.  And on Christmas day, with our readied hearts, our joy should just begin.  The twelve days of Christmas begins on December 25.  Trees don't have to be out on the sidewalk on the 26th.  

Granted, I don't think it's wrong to have decorations out in early December, and I'm not advocating for a December void of Christmas music.  I just regret the attitude that bull-dozes any spiritual preparation.  Be very sure that this is not meant to be a holier-than-thou post.   In reality, it's as much a reminder for me as for everyone else.  It's easy to become caught up in the flurry and frazzle of December; worrying constantly about the things to be done and the presents to be bought.  But it doesn't have to be that way, and my simple decorations are my reminder of that.  Simply, calmly, and with great anticipation we can prepare for the One whose "advent set thy people free."  (Lyrics from On Jordan's Bank the Baptist's Cry)

P.S. On a totally materialistic note, aren't my pinecone trees fantastic?  I wanted to make some after seeing a picture, and my Nanny (grandmother), who has an enormous collection of pinecones, acorns, and other natural items to make beautiful wreaths, helped me to bring my vision to light over Thanksgiving.  I love them for their natural beauty, but also because of the special time I shared working with my Nan!  I also have some plans to bedeck them a little more when Christmas comes!

1 comment:

  1. Great post. I actually use three brown, one cream and one white candle for my advent wreath. Purple never made sense to me as a color of repentance, since it's also the color for royalty and therefore splendor and privilege. Brown fits my decor, and certainly looks far more repentant. We have a fifth candle we call the Christ candle that comes out on Christmas morning and goes in the center of the wreath, filling the "dark hole" as Christ fills the dark hole in our hearts. Our advent calendar is also focused on the real meaning of the season: it's 24 little books, each with another piece of the Christmas story, ending on the 24th with Christ's birth. After we read the day's mini-book, it gets hung on a little tree. We have lots of Christmas decor, but it's merely backdrop for the importance of the season and the things we do together to celebrate the Reason for it. Nothing says "this is important" as turning your house inside out with visual reminders.