Two years ago, when I first started blogging, I ran a series of posts every day in the month of December. This series was in lieu of an Advent calendar, which had been a big tradition of my family. Back then, I had only a handful of faithful blog followers, instead of more than 400. So, I intend to re-gift these entries. After all, I am in the resale business! (Check out Scholar & Poet Books – there’s a link in the side bar.) For my family and for Helen (God bless you!), these will be repeats. For the rest of you, I hope you enjoy opening your daily presents!
‘Tis A Season
When I was a kid, I always had an Advent calendar to count down the days from the first of December until Christmas Eve. I had the same tradition with my own kids. The secrets hidden behind each door were often Scripture verses. It was important to tell the story of Jesus’ birth and make sure my kids knew that was “the reason for the season”. There are other little treasures we could open each day, though. When my son was taking German in high school, they sold Advent calendars with chocolates in them. My father used to make us calendars out of magazine pictures and various old rotogravures with fortune cookie strips for the daily message. We made our own calendars for each other, too, with simple crayon symbols behind the cut out doors. The season has multiple images in my mind, and now I’m trying to figure out what it means to me at this point in my life.
I will always have respect for Jesus and the Christian story. They were supremely important in my life for many years. My spirituality was formed around them. I think it is good to examine and re-examine beliefs, though, and strive for genuine and authentic expressions of experience. My experience is expanding as I age, and I want to include more of those experiences in my belief system. I want to include respect for other cultures, other religions, other parts of the planet and the universe. I have a sister who is Sikh, a son who identifies with Buddhism and Native American spirit stories and a father who once taught science. There is a lot going on all over the world in this season. What do I want to acknowledge or celebrate?
My youngest daughter has always loved this season. She used to go to the local Hallmark store in the middle of the summer to look at the Christmas village set up there. What was that about? Sparkly, pretty, cozy, homey, yummy expectations of treats? Possibly. Peace, love, joy? Possibly. Emotions? Definitely. Why not focus on pleasurable human senses and emotions? Up in the northern hemisphere, we are spinning away from the sun and plunging into a cold, dark time. Light becomes more precious, warmth becomes holy, food is life itself. Why not celebrate that dependence? We are sustained by the sun and the producers of this planet that make food from its energy. Evergreen trees remind us of that. Gifts remind us that we receive from the producers; we are consumers. Gratitude is the attitude of the season. Giving is the action that sustains us.