Saturday, December 01, 2007

Advent and Advent Calendars


"Scatter joy."
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)

Violette commented recently that when her children came 'home' again, they reached for old, familiar things instead of the nicer, newer ones purchased or set out for the occasion. It reminded me of my own children. And how much they still treasure the holiday linkings to their childhood.

Nothing is stronger than the joy through the many years of our well worn, but beloved Advent Calendar. It is machine appliqued, felt on felt, and the little ornaments attach with velcro. Over the years, it has become fingered and worn. Its little pocket has been repeatedly stretched from little hands reaching into it to claim an ornament to place upon the tree.

We added items day by day, instead of taking them off or opening them as with some advent calendars. My children would do a round robin...one for you, one for me...selecting their ornaments ahead of time, then choosing again from their own stash for each new day. Many, many years there were tears...as the elf went first, or the little snowman, or whatever the favorite for that year might have been. They loved their favorites so dearly, and sometimes children love the same exact things just as intensely. Next year,you can choose first! would always be the promise.

I look at its age spots now, and they are like my own...battle scars and memories of all of its years. All of the tracking of the days, and all of the remembrances of a life well and lovingly lived. Not without wounds and challenges, those are all part of the memories, part of our strengths and our history of a life where each of us did our best at the time.

We live our days, all days, the best we can. We dream large and we fill ourselves and others up with hope and then we just try our best with faith. But sometimes, like this calendar, we live only day by day, and sometimes the special time or the special season must come to an end. Then, we begin again.

We have to find new reasons to share, or to celebrate, or just to find joy in each and every new day. If each of us can find something to look forward, something special to achieve and feel good about, and maybe someway to share than joy with another...then that day was not lived in vain.

"Scatter joy." Spread the little seeds, nurture them and watch them grow...through this advent season and all the days of our lives.

3 comments:

  1. I was beginning to wonder if it was worth finishing up the advent calendar I'm trying to make for my daughter for this year. Thanks for reminding me that it is!

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  2. Ah, I have an advent calendar somewhere that isn't out of its box yet and here it is December 4. Velcro is a great idea. Mine hangs with little threads but everytime someone touches it the ornaments fall off. Maybe I'll sew some velcro onto it.

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  3. I made this same advent calendar some 30 years ago. It was dearly loved, but retired when my only child grew up. I'd love to find the pattern again to recreate it for a friend's family. Alas, that is unlikely, but I was thrilled to find this tiny picture here!

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Michele Bilyeu blogs "With Heart and Hands" as she journeys between Douglas, Alaska and Salem, Oregon.