Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Following the Star, Dec. 3 & 4

Advent calendars have been on my mind and in my memories these early December days.

It has been my tradition for four Decembers now to buy Fair Trade chocolate Advent calendars and give them out at children's time on the first Sunday in Advent. Children receive them, youth receive them, grandparents take them to their grandchildren, and this year I found the few children in the audience at Sunday's Sacra/Profana concert and handed to them as a gift of hospitality.

In my own home, the recent tradition has been the Lego advent calendar. Each day, you open a window and build a small Lego figure. We opted for the Star Wars theme this year. I don't think there's a Christmas tree to be found in the set, but there is a snowman version of R2D2.

As a kid, I had an advent calendar that hung from a dowel with a miniature candy cane each day. After the first year, I think my mother thought better of that idea and it was back to the paper windows with pictures behind them.

There's a beautifully complex children's book about an advent calendar with a story within a story within a story. The pictures come to life each day and a little girl journeys to Bethlehem with the characters. I read it each day the December my son was nursing as an infant. He has not been able to sit still for a reading since, though.

My favorite Advent calendar is one my parents bought for Ryan that very first December. Each pocket has a cloth character from the nativity that we add a day at a time to a manager scene above. It has been out every year since, though, for several years, the baby was missing. I found him peeking from a quilt keeper earlier this year and returned him to the set.

It's past time to go hang the calendar and follow the star.

Advent calendars are like that.

Sometimes a window goes unopened for a day or more.

That just makes the catch-up days more fun, whether the windows reveal chocolate or Legos or the Light of the World.

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