Advent Season and Tradition
I tried to make Advent season an important preparation for our family. We had a felt Advent calendar that hung on the wall, and the children took turns emptying a pocket each day for more than twenty years. The children each had a little manger they made out of construction paper, matchboxes or any other suitable bed. One year I recall one being made of Legos. Every day following a little action known only to God they could reward themselves with something to line their manger. Some years it was yellow yarn, other years real straw. The hope ..
In my book Rock and a Hard Place, A Lithuanian Love Story, a nonfiction, biography, there’s a poignant piece about Advent. When Danute had finally made her long journey to the U.S. in 1949, from war-torn Europe, she struggled to remain true to her Lithuanian culture and at the same time fit into her new life as an American:
For Danute, learning to change and adapt meant giving up some of the “truths” she’d grown up with.
“Really? There is a dance this weekend? But, it’s Advent,” Danute said with surprise.
“But there’s no music during Advent. It’s a quiet time of preparation for the birth of the Christ child. No celebration, not yet. Just contemplation. No music, no dancing. Not until Christmas, when Advent is over.”
“Really? I never heard that before. Maybe it’s a Lithuanian tradition,” her girlfriend said.
“Ja, I guess so, in America music seems to be a part of Advent. I hear Christmas music in the stores and on my radio. Christmas music, when it isn’t yet Christmas? Christmas dances during Advent season? I don’t know. I’ve never done that. I really like to dance. I’ll have to think about it. I’ll let you know.”
Should I go? Should I sing? Dance? Isn’t it a Church rule? No music during Advent. Is it a Catholic rule? Or is it only a Lithuanian custom? What should I do? Maybe it’s the Americans who are wrong about this one. Or maybe…not. Shall I accept the invitation? How uncomfortable will I be? Can I forget for the evening that it’s Advent? I don’t know what to do.
Father Robert Barron has a wonderful Advent series on facebook, only about a paragraph a day, that is a wonderful way to start the morning. He says “Advent is a time when we get deeply in touch with our need for a savior.” What’s in your Advent?
Do you have Advent at your house or do you move into the Christmas season on Black Friday?