As posted by yours truly at RevGalBlogPals, an Advent Friday Five.
Although it comes as late as it can this year, Advent is upon us. Some of us grew up observing it, while to others (including this childhood Baptist) it was even more foreign than Lent! Over the past twenty years, I have grown to love Advent as a season of preparation, although as a pastor I find it harder to practice it at home than at church, even when the church might prefer I make it the other way ’round.
Here are five questions about Advent for this first of December:
1) Do you observe Advent in your church?
We do, lighting the wreath each week, reading the Advent texts and trying to reflect Advent in our music choices. My approach has been to let Christmas in slowly. We get the basic greenery up early in Advent, then add lights or bows or decorations as we get to Advent 4 and/or Christmas Eve. The practice of observing Advent is not deeply rooted in the church, and there was a great deal of resistance my first year when I didn’t choose Christmas carols right from the beginning of December. As the years went by I used a Christmas carol as the Closing Hymn each week in Advent. We also don’t have a huge tradition of people attending on Christmas Eve, so the Sunday before Christmas really serves as Christmas Sunday. We’re Congregational, what can I say?
This year, I think we need a little Christmas, as we prepare to part from one another, so lights and such will creep in earlier.
2) How about at home?
Before I was a pastor I did more. Now I’m lucky to get our tree up and decorated and a wreath on the door. We do have a hanging Advent calendar, about which more below.
When I was a little girl growing up in Virginia, I didn’t even know what Advent was, but when I discovered it at a more liturgical UCC church, I loved it. We did a lot of special things for Advent when the boys were little, including having a wreath on the dining room table.
That all changed the year I looked at my then-husband during the first hymn on Christmas Eve and said, "Did you put out the candles on the wreath?" He bolted for home!
Don’t worry. There wasn’t a fire. But we were none too excited about having one at home again.
3) Do you have a favorite Advent text or hymn?
I love quite a few of the hymns, but there’s nothing like "O Come, O Come Emmanuel." We sing the refrain as our closing response after the benediction through Advent.
My favorite texts are in Year B, especially Isaiah 40:1-11, perhaps showing my weakness for Handel’s Messiah.
4) Why is one of the candles in the Advent wreath pink? (You may tell the truth, but I’ll like your answer better if it’s funny.)
I posed this, so it’s probably not fair for me to play. But there are some funny answers out there! And there will be a prize (or prizes) for the ones that tickle me most.
5) What’s the funniest/kitschiest Advent calendar you’ve ever seen?
A dear friend who happens to be Jewish went on vacation in Hawaii and brought us back a fabric Advent calendar with velcro sea creatures you place on a felt tree. The Princess LOVES it and can’t wait to get it out each year. One of the pieces ended up in a puppy mouth a few years ago, but was rescued and continues in use. I’ll get a picture of it after we hang it. I’m a little behind on this Advent thing…