Recovering at home from a recent operation Sandra reflects on home rituals of Advent, and a Posada visit:
Several angels have been ministering in this house recently, bringing me cups of tea, hoovering , making me dinner and doing those tasks which the use of double crutches make impossible or at least difficult. But since Sunday an image of an angel has also appeared daily, so far one hovering over the bread bin , one in a window and two in the hall. And behold sitting on the sideboard between some cards is a wiseman on his camel. Sometime in the next two weeks he will meet the other two wisemen also in the house perched in unlikely places.
Slowly, day by day, my house is moving towards the climax of Christmas Eve . In the last week the tree will be decorated, the house will be filled with assorted angels, every door on the advent calendar will be open and finally I will lay out the figures of my nativity set.
Each of us has our own Christmas rituals made anew and developed in our adult life. Things passed on from generation to generation. The advent calendar ( definitely only pictures no chocolates) were part of my childhood . My granddaughter, Sally aged 2 , has an advent calendar but has been given in addition an advent set of boxes. Rather than fill them with gifts my daughter is putting scraps of cloths and buttons to make a picture.
St Nicholas visits at this time as he came to me in childhood , filling the shoes of any overnight visitors with chocolates and decorations. He will bring Sally a Christmas book each year so that her understanding of the story will deepen and expand . ( Note how well I know the plans of St Nicholas ) Candles and music also have a role in the holy time.
And this year Advent started in a very special way in this house when Father Ian and Dominic bringing the Posada figures.
These advent rituals , simultaneously lighthearted and solemn , help me stop and reflect midst the hustle and bustle of the Christmas preparations but as importantly they help me become a child seeking the kingdom of God . My rational analytical self is set aside and I take pleasure in the small things – this morning a silly picture of a mouse in the calendar sent by my daughter. I remember at first being disappointed because the church Posada figures were not beautifully carved from wood but now I have come to love them as humble knitted figures who seek a place to pause on their journey as indeed I pause on