For those of you who listened to our Advent Episode then you heard how I grew up with Advent being a very central part of my Christmas memories. It seemed only fitting to bring you my very own mother, Leabeth Abt’s Advent rumentations (especially since she took me up on my recommendations and is reading one of the books I talked about in this post. ) We hope you enjoy.
I’m often questioned by people concerning why we don’t have a Christmas tree. My ready answer is that we always spent Christmas out of town with the relatives when the children were still young and living at home, and our houses were always too small to fit in a tree since most of the extra space was taken up with the many potted plants from our garden which needed ‘wintering’ indoors. But, today, I’m encouraged remembering that though we lacked a tree, we did have a wreath, an Advent wreath.
I always loved how the lighting of each of the candles (adding one each week) along with the prophetic reading of the coming Messiah and the singing of a hymn symbolically reinforced the growing light of knowledge throughout the ages and prepared Man for the Coming One who is as Zacharias says in the Gospel of Luke “…the Sunrise from on high shall visit us.”
This year for Advent I am reading Hallelujah: A Journey Through Advent With Handel’s Messiah, a book borrowed from my daughter Abigail. In this little book, Cindy Rollins shares a Swedish Christmastime tradition of celebrating St. Lucia. Though this feast is now celebrated on December 13th, it originated on the year’s winter solstice and was “…a beautiful feast day to celebrate the end of darkness and the coming of light” (Rollins).
This sentiment, so beautifully penned, adds another celebration to my love of Advent. Similar to the lighting of candles throughout the four weeks of Advent illustrating the ever growing understanding of the Messiah through prophecy, the winter solstice is a perfect day to reflect on the ever growing, daily light in the coming year and the possibility of a deeper, personal revelation of Jesus in my life. The winter solstice is just another example of “The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands. Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night reveals knowledge.” 1
So, this year on December 21st as we mark the winter solstice, I plan to take a moment to reflect on the darkness of this world and the “Sunrise” whose coming we will celebrate on the 25th. As I celebrate the tilting of the sun to longer days, I will meditate on “…the true light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man.” 2