"For Mrs. Sharp's family, the holiday excitement begins as soon as the Thanksgiving turkey starts simmering on the stove for soup. Then we put away the everyday china to make room for the Christmas crockery and bring out the Advent Box.
"Advent Box, Mrs. Sharp? Is this another old-fashioned Victorian tradition?"
No, dear readers. Advent is one of the oldest celebrations of the Christmas season, dating back at least 14 centuries. The Advent season--the four weeks preceding Christmas--is traditionally set aside for spiritual preparation before the Nativity of Christ. Mrs. Sharp likes to think that Advent is the doorway through which we enter into a joyful Christmas.
And the Advent Box is just a cardboard box, clearly labeled "Advent" (to distinguish it from the hundreds of "Xmas boxes" in the attic). It contains all the books, supplies and materials Mrs. Sharp needs early in December in order to celebrate Advent.
Do you observe the season of Advent in your home? Victorian families did, for the many colorful customs that surround its observance--the Advent calendar, wreath and candles, as well as mini-festivals such as St. Nicholas Day (Dec. 6) and St. Lucia's Day (Dec. 13)--all added to the children's understanding and appreciation of Christmas."
Although the lower level remodel is eating up a good deal of our time right now we are enjoying our Austin family style advent doing some bit of preparation each day along with our special advent prayers. This weekend's particular task is to be certain we are prepared for St. Nicholas' feast day Tuesday. Now is the time to ensure there are chocolate coins and candy canes for the shoes as well as the makings for a simple craft gathered up.