The First Sunday Of Advent

Reading 1 Jer 33:14-16

The days are coming, says the LORD,
when I will fulfill the promise
I made to the house of Israel and Judah.
In those days, in that time,
I will raise up for David a just shoot ;
he shall do what is right and just in the land.
In those days Judah shall be safe
and Jerusalem shall dwell secure;
this is what they shall call her:
“The LORD our justice.”

I wait for Advent impatiently all year long. I love Christmas, and Advent gives me structure and meaning to build my anticipation, my excitement, my worship around. There are so many people who hate the holidays because they let the secular demands overshadow the spiritual meaning of Christmas, and the joy to be found in sharing the miracle of the birth of the Christ child with our families and friends. For many people who face the holidays alone, it is a time of acute despair. My hope and prayer is that all people can find a little of the  joy, the hope and the belief that is meant to be ours during this special time of the year. I pray that I might be able to make them just a little happier, or perhaps bring a little hope to someone who needs it.

I have always loved Christmas, as far back as I remember. For me, it was a respite in an unhappy childhood, a time when the ugliness was suspended, and I had a brief few weeks where I could pretend that I lived the life I wished I lived. I have never lost that love, that hope, and I have tried, along with my husband, to make that home I wanted for our children, now grown. When my sons were small, we found many ways to make Advent a very special time, and some we incorporated into family tradition, practices we followed every year. Putting the tree up the first Sunday of Advent. Three gifts under the tree for each child. Putting out the nativity scene, less baby Jesus of course. Making gingerbread houses. Trips to see the lights and Santa. Taking the boys to buy toys for the Toys For Tots donation. Baking our own special favorite Christmas cookies. Going to midnight mass. Waiting while everyone left so that we could make our way up front to see the creche. Coming home where we read the nativity story while the boys, at long last, put baby Jesus in the manger. Opening presents, and then having our great big Christmas breakfast at 2 in the morning.

The Treehouse admins wish you a joyous Christmas season, and we hope that you will pause a moment and share your joy, and your prayers with us. We will have a recipe post later in December, but we hope that you will share your memories and your special traditions, your reflections on the scripture with us here each Sunday. It would be wonderful to share the celebrations in your town, the gatherings and traditions in your church, your home. The different ways we celebrate in different parts of the country always fascinate me.  This is a season for hope, for joy, a season for belief. Put aside your worldly cares for a few moments and just welcome the Christ Child with us.

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12 Responses to The First Sunday Of Advent

  1. ytz4mee says:

    Thank you for a wonderful and heartfelt post, Menage.

    One of my favorite traditions was helping my Mom wire together a fresh evergreen wreath which she then would place the Advent candles in. In our house, we also had different colored candles for each week in Advent, and a special/different prayer each week as my Mom lit the candles.

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  2. Ad rem says:

    How beautifully written Menage. You have just brightened my whole perspective on the day. :-D

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  3. Angel says:

    “My hope and prayer is that all people can find a little of the joy, the hope and the belief that is meant to be ours during this special time of the year. I pray that I might be able to make them just a little happier, or perhaps bring a little hope to someone who needs it.”

    Beautiful!!

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  4. stellap says:

    “When my sons were small, we found many ways to make Advent a very special time, and some we incorporated into family tradition, practices we followed every year.”

    These are the things our children remember – not the things, but the tradition, and time spent as a family. That’s what we remember, isn’t it?

    My grandchildren look forward to receiving new ornaments for their collections, picking out the tree and decorating it, building their gingerbread house, visiting christkindlmarket in downtown Chicago, looking at the department store windows decorated for Christmas and driving through their neighborhood to look at the Christmas lights, attending mass on Christmas Eve, then Christmas Eve supper, and hanging their stockings.

    The things that I remember are much the same. Funny that.

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  5. Sharon says:

    Thank you, Menagarie for giving us word pictures of your memories, and preparing an Advent template that we can sort of fill in with with both present and past.

    We had an Advent wreath on the table as well, and the “current candle” was lit at supper every night, with a new candle being added at Sunday noon dinner each week. During our sons’ growing up years, we were running the rat race with long commutes and crazy job schedules in So Cal and I did not establish the Advent wreath tradition in our home. I regret that–not in a “beating myself over the head” manner, but simple acknowledgement that I was given a gift that in this case I did not pass along.

    My mother died in 1997, and it was gratifying to me to have my 5 siblings’ complete agreement when I suggested that we use the cash memorial gifts to give a large floor-standing advent wreath to the church she was worshipping with and had been a charter member of when the congregation was organized in the early 1970’s.

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  6. Sam says:

    Thank you for the reminder of the season, Menagerie. I always loved Christmas when I was a child. The Christmas trees with those old fashioned shiny tinsel icicles, the Advent wreath with 3 purple and one pink candles, the carolers who came to the door and who we gave hot chocolate to, going to a church all decorated with evergreens for hope. The church choir singing the hymns of the season and the nativity scene with life size figures minus the Christ Child until at midnight on Christmas Eve into Christmas Day.

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  7. czarowniczy says:

    Thinking of Christians and Christmas, watch what befalls the Copts in Egypt over the holidays. They were attacked and their churches burned and bombed (especially during the Christian holiday periods) while Mubarak, the ‘restrained’ US ally, was in power. Now the Muslim Brotherhood’s candidate is president (their’s not ours) God help them, it will be open season. I’d also suggest praying for the Filipino Christians who will be targets of the Muslim fundamentalists there, and the Filipino Muslim terrorists are particularly inventive during the Christmas season.

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  8. Just read this and am SO glad I did. I needed to hear this…thank you, Menage for this much needed reminder.

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