When does Christmas officially start? I’m happy to be corrected but officially it doesn’t begin until the clock strikes twelve on Christmas eve night and tips into Christmas day. It is then that we can begin to “celebrate” sing our carols and open any presents that we might have been bought. Perhaps it is my age but the so called Christmas gets earlier every year.
I was involved in preparing the Santa Float with RoundTable this week in readiness for its first outing on 25th November. Some comedian amongst us switched on the piped Christmas music and a deep groan was felt within me. I like a party and a celebration with the best of them but it does feel some what misplaced. When Advent comes around if we are not already we will most definitely be in the party season.
I admit it was Christianity that piggy backed a pagan festival to celebrate Christmas in the first place, but it has now being removed predominantly from a faith perspective into a secular winter festival. However for those who are interested in my rant I draw inspiration from the Advent Candle Wreath. Historically the candles have been purple. Whilst purple symbolised royalty it is also a colour for repentance and suffering. Advent has been like a mini Lent, a time of searching and preparation for the coming of the King. There was a moment on the third Sunday to celebrate or anticipate the coming light and the candle for that occasion was a rose of pink colour.
In a frenetic world and the enticement of bright lights and the party atmosphere it is very difficult to focus on suffering and repentance. However there is scope and one example is an initiative entitled “Too Busy To Stop” held at The Hurst Methodist each year which has space and reflection at the heart of it.
I promise that I will not walk around with sack cloth and ashes until Christmas comes but I will try and get the right balance between celebration and preparation for Christmas, when it finally comes.