Last year, I was excited about Advent – a season of hope, expectation and preparation. But then something happened. One of those phone calls that you don’t want to have and never forget with news that you don’t want to hear. Advent then became a reality for me – I had to ‘live Advent’. Hope couldn’t just be a nice thought, a theology or a theory. Advent had to be more than that.
Much has happened since then and, thankfully, my worst fears weren’t realised. So, even though this year has been one of the hardest I’ve ever experienced, 2020 was better than expected! Yet, we need hope more than ever.
Until quite recently, I had no enthusiasm for marking Advent this year. But then a friend posted a link on Facebook to an Advent course, Living in Hope, and I was drawn to it. It turned out others were too and so together we will be exploring issues of living and dying well.
Once again Small Boy and Little Miss (who are not so small and little these days) will have a Lego Advent calendar from Grandma – some normality in a difficult year. We have also purchased 10 chocolate Advent calendars for the Red Trust Bushey to give to local families.
Earlier this year, I purchased four Advent candles which we shall light at our family dinner times throughout Advent.
Draw with Rob at Christmas is another Advent gift for the Mini-Ps who both have a new interest in drawing, sparked by Draw with Rob online tutorials watched while at Bubble School in the summer term. I don’t know what the long-term affects of living through a pandemic will be but I hope they remember the fun times rather than the difficult days. Among the many losses of this year, there have been some gains and seeing the children happily sitting and drawing at the kitchen table is one of them.
I’ve also picked Advent for Everyone: A Journey through Luke off the shelf. Mr P read it last year and since Luke is one of my favourite books of the Bible, I will also read this.
I learnt last year that I needed Advent in a deeply personal way, and so this year, with all that has happened and continues to happen, I need to reach into the season even when it feels hard.
Sadly, no purple (the liturgical colour for the season) hair for me this Advent which was probably one of the highlights of last year although the Christmas tree and Christmas pudding hats will be worn daily!