November 30, 2012

December and Advent

December is a month of contradictions. We feel both the cold of winter and the warmth of family gatherings. The long darkness of night surrounds us, but the many-colored lights of the season shine around us. The life of nature seems to die, but we focus on the birth of a Child.

Our pottery Advent wreath
The Christian Year begins with Advent which begins 4 Sundays before Christmas. I have four Advent posts that can't be given an actual date since it differs every year. Advent week 1, then Advent week 2, Advent week 3, and Advent week 4. The Christ child candle in the center is lit on Christmas.

Around the 21st we watch for Winter Solstice, the shortest day and the longest night of the year. From this day on, the days will each get longer until mid-summer.

St Lucia is on the 13th - her name "Lucy" meaning "light". St Lucia Day for the Scandinavians, with their dark days, really ushers in the season of lights.

Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, goes for 8 days. I pick a night for a family meal and we burn a small menorah and eat a meal with latkes (potato pancakes) served with applesause and sour cream. And we talk about it's story.

It's story reminds us that miracles can still happen. It happened between the Old and New Testament around 175 BCE and is a festival the Jews have added to their calendar (from the original festivals in Lev 23). Jesus was at this festival in John 10:22-42. Hanukkah means "dedication".

See my Hannukah post on it, and my Latke recipe. I can't put these posts on specific dates since the Jewish Calendar is Lunar based and it falls on differing days every year.

The Sunday before Christmas in Eastern Churches, the Genealogy of Jesus (another post) is remembered.

I love my Mary's "Yes" post for this season, an Advent Poem, and don't forget about the real St Nicholas. I got recipe posts as well for the season. 
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