Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Advent bags

At home we have these Advent Bags. When the kids were small I got a playmobil Christmas set and lovingly made 25 little gold and red drawstring bags out of some crinkly material I found in the church bins the morning after a Hindu wedding. The playmobil set had Mary, Joseph, the baby, donkey, shepherds, sheep - the usual suspects. Even a pair of mice. But it didn't quite stretch to 25 objects. Over the years I have begged, borrowed and bought playmobil figures from other sets so that there would be one figure in each of the bags to open every day in advent. I am quite pleased with the slightly frumpy Elizabeth, the paint spattered innkeeper (it might not be there in Matthew, but I have it on good authority that the only reason he couldn't give the holy family a room that night was that he was in the middle of a large scale refurbishment), the ghastly looking Herod and sword weilding Roman centurion. But the highlight, for me, is definitely the rather swarthy debonair Quirinius, complete with swirlling cape clutching a matching book in his hand. The fun we've had this year teaching K to pronounce that one!

Anyway, this is a massive digression from the case in point, which is this: every year the kids have a great big argument on December 1st as to who's going to open the first, and which order they will open the next in, so that they can get to open their favorites. Then we have a few more arguments when someone opens the bag on the wrong day. But essentially by about December 10th we've usually missed a couple of days because we all forget to open them. I was musing on this as I traipsed out tonight to meet R on an unusally cold night. Because, in contrast, we haven't forgotten a single one yet. Well, to be fair, she hasn't. Left to my own devices, who's knows what would have happened. It feels like a discipline. But one which you would miss if you didn't bother with. I've got to the point that I would feel left out if she went out to do one on her own. 11pm would come and go without a 'moment'. I may even miss the nightly ritual come the 26th Decemeber. In our procession version of Advent Adventure tonight, she told the kids the story of John the Baptist as we remember him in the 3rd week of advent. How he called people to get their hearts ready for God. To set aside moments in our lives to give God space. Maybe that's what our starry journey is.

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