Just finished making this year’s Advent wreath ( a day late but I was at work all weekend ) and it got me to thinking about all the things that stress people out over the holidays. Most of it is the result of thoughtlessness 0r absent-mindedness, but most frequently – stupidity. I’m starting an “Educating the Universe” series that I hope will serve a useful purpose and maybe render bitch slapping a less frequent occurrence during this festive holiday season.
Advent is the four weeks prior to Christmas. It is a religious observance. Do not walk into a gift shop, ask for an Advent calendar, and say, “Oh, not a religious one!” An ADVENT calendar is a guide for children to understand the approaching birth of their Lord. A gigundo poster of Santa Claus with a big bag that has 24 little paper doors on it is a COUNTDOWN TO CHRISTMAS. Advent (and for that matter, Christmas) has nothing to do with Santa. Do what you like, but get your terms correct.
The color of Advent candles vary in some churches but the basic set is 3 purple and one rose. They are lit on the 4 Sundays of Advent and go in this sequence: 1st Sunday – purple, 2nd) purple, purple 3rd) purple, purple, rose 4th) purple, purple, rose, purple. You may also light them at supper during the week, it’s nice. The rose (or pink) candle is for Gaudete Sunday (Latin for “rejoice”) and is a rose candle because rose is the liturgical color for joy. The 3rd Sunday marks the “nearness” of the great event so anticipatory jumping up and down encouraged. (Trivia question – what is the only other Sunday in the liturgical year that rose vestments are worn?)
- Sidebar on candles: DO NOT BUY CHEAP CANDLES. Repeat: DO. NOT. BUY. CHEAP. CANDLES. Cheap candles melt rapidly and puddle wax that will destroy linens and surfaces. There is nothing attractive about a candle with diarrhea. If you purchase good candles they will burn MUCH longer, drip less (if at all) and save you money. Honest. PS – make sure the candles are S-T-R-A-I-G-H-T up in their holders. Seriously. You would think people would know that, but there you are. PSS – do not buy scented candles for the dinner table. ( I know – a no-brainer, but I’ve been to dinners where the scent of flowery candles combined with the scent of roast lamb to become cause for projectile vomiting.) Let’s review: cheap candles (tapers, jars, floaties, you name it) are a fire hazard and a nuisance.
So that is Advent 101. There is more but that should get you through the holidays. Our next installment in the Educating the Universe series will be about the shocking stupidity and thoughtlessness of walking through stores with hot coffee and/or soft drinks.