To many, the advent of the festive season is synonymous with Advent Calendars. I grew up in a country which had sanctions, so Advent Calendars were never ‘a thing’. I have been in this country long enough to know about their rise in popularity, and am old enough to have seen the changes in their use.
I was contemplating the meaning of advent this morning when I came across this poem by @Brian Bilston. Brief shout out for Brian Bilston’s poetry for a daily lift. It is usually witty, rhyming and very funny. Today’s was more reflective.
Historically, Germans used different methods of marking the days leading up to Christmas. Brian’s poem already reflects mid 20th Century use – and the images of nativity had become images associated with a more westernised, commercial Christmas. But they were still images which invited a pause, and some sort of reflection.
When I searched Google for advent calendars, the entire first page was devoted to calendars, selling stuff, as illustrated above – from the humble Cadbury chocolate calendar at £2.70 to the Dior advent calendar – a mere snip at £570!!! Nowadays it is no longer enough to exchange presents on Christmas Eve, or Christmas morning, we are encouraged to give more and more costly gifts every single day of December!
What has this to do with the meaning of Advent??
If you think of an Advent calendar as a pause for reflection, gratitude and wonder, I invite you to bring that attitude to your days of advent. And if you are bombarded with Advent ‘gift’ calendars, I invite you to pause and ask yourself what non-commercial gift you would like to both give and receive each day. As with many simple things, this is not necessarily easy. It requires intention, will and commitment…and yields many benefits.