Advent is my favorite time of the year. I’m even somewhat of an Advent fundamentalist. I like the waiting, the preparation, the darkness, the melancholy,….I want it to last for its full twenty to twenty-four days. And then I want to celebrate with gusto all twelve days of Christmas from December 25 to January 5.
I know I can’t change the culture that puts up Christmas trees the day after Thanksgiving (or before) and plops them on tree lawns on December 26. It’s not my job or my business to convince anyone to turn back the clocks to some previous era. But I can orchestrate the way my family and I celebrate Advent in our house. Purple lights on the front porch and purple candles on the Advent wreath remind me to slow down and hold back. The Christmas tree, even if it is in the house, remains undecorated until at least December 20th. These self-imposed traditions extend, expand and enrich for me the three-pieces of the Nativity triptych–Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany.They help me enter into the experience of the longing for, the coming of and the shining forth of the Savior.