Friday, 26 December 2014
Sunday, 21 December 2014
I love the season of Advent. I particularly love the way that it develops. The Advent wreath marks the passing of the weeks, but it starts off with a sombre tone reflected in purple vestments. Gaudete Sunday brings a relaxation of this tone, demonstrated by the switch to rose vestments for that one day. And the octave before the Nativity is marked by the recitation of the "O" antiphons at Vespers. It all helps to stress that we're getting closer to the amazing feast celebrating Our Lord's birth.
My mother, being German, always insisted on decorating the Christmas tree on Christmas Eve. When I was a child, the trees didn't last very long, and, unless you wanted bare branches with a pile of pine needles underneath, a real tree had to be brought inside as late as possible.
I don't often bother with a tree now (having two cats who might dismantle it for me acts as a deterrent!) but the pressure to not set up for Christmas too early remains. So my crib gets brought out once the "O" antiphons start, and not before. The baby doesn't get placed in the crib until Christmas Eve (after Midnight Mass) and the Wise Men only start their journey around the room on Christmas Eve, not arriving at the crib until Epiphany.
This year I was delighted to find out that there was a special blessing for crib figures of the baby Jesus. I dutifully brought my two Bambini along to church, and, after Mass, they were liberally sprinkled with holy water. And now I feel that I'm ready for the big day!
(In case you were wondering, I have two Bambini because I have two cribs - one in the oratory, and one in the sitting room.)