Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Advent

Advent

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My Advent creche is out again and getting filled, week by week, with creatures awaiting the rebirth of the light and the year.

After Thanksgiving, as the spirits of the Beloved Dead still lingered around the holiday festivities, we took down our Dia de los Muertos altara, carefully putting away the mementos of those loved ones who are no longer living.


In it's place came the Nativity creche, barren and empty at first. This is one of my favorite moments of the advent season, when the creche that represents our hearts in the deep of winter, is empty. ready to be filled.

 
And then it begins to fill. 

A candle I light 
On the creche tonight 
One candle now is seen 

For rocks and bones and shining stones 
One candle now is seen. 

We await on Earth 
The holy birth. 
Our hope arises with the flame. 
Our love and faith shall grow the same. 
One candle now is seen.

On the first week of Advent we added stones, shells and bones. My quartz crystal cluster goes on, looking like something straight out of a Waldorf school story, and so does that improbably twisted bit of rock I collected in Southern Oregon all those years ago. Barren, still, but filling. And waiting.  

Two candles I light 
On the creche tonight 
Two candles now are seen 

For grass and trees, fruit and seeds 
Two candles now are seen. 

We await on Earth 
The holy birth. 
Our hope arises with the flame. 
Our love and faith shall grow the same.
Two candles now are seen.


 

On the second week of Advent plant material is added. Boughs of Douglas Fir from out in front of my apartment building, bottle brush trees and a garland of green beads bring the realm of plants into the waiting, as well. 

Three candles I light 
On the creche tonight 
Three candles now are seen 

For creatures all who run, fly or crawl 
Three candles now are seen. 

We await on Earth 
The holy birth. 
Our hope arises with the flame. 
Our love and faith shall grow the same. 
Three candles now are seen.

 

On the third week of Advent the animal realm came in the form of horse, frog, goat and owl figurines in ceramic, enamel, wood and plastic. On the fourth week of Advent humans join the waiting. Mary and Joseph, some magi, a fairy godmother and a few others. Look how festive and full the creche is now! 

Four candles I light
On the creche tonight 
Four candles now are seen 

For you and me, all people who were or will be 
Four candles now are seen. 

We await on Earth 
The holy birth. 
Our hope arises with the flame. 
Our love and faith shall grow the same. 
Four candles now are seen. 

And soon, soon, soon it will be Solstice and then Christmas. The rebirth of the sun and the year! This year, my sister and I are also filling an Advent calendar with little gifties for each other. What a treat to open the drawer and find something tasty each day.

How does your family celebrate Advent? Do you decorate a creche or have an Advent calendar? Do you light candles on a table centerpiece or do something else to count down the weeks and days to Christmas or solstice? I'd love to hear about your traditions.

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Advent 2008: Waiting and Solstice Creche 

Advent 2009: Christmas, Advent, Awaiting the Birth, and Moving from the Season of the Dead 

Advent 2010: Winter is Dark, Yet Each Tiny Spark 

Advent 2011: Living in Relationship

1 comment:

loveinthesuburbs.com said...

Lovely. Thank you for sharing your Advent tradition. Ours is similar; we took on (different) Waldorf verses and four kingdoms because that's what the school does and other friends do. I feel the Waldorf reverence for the natural world and my own Paganism make a good marriage in my heart and my home. We have a nightly candle prayer, too, (which looks like this http://loveinthesuburbs.com/wordpress/nightly-candle-prayer) so if our schedule is demanding we feel OK about skipping a night of Advent. And that suites me fine, too. :-)