At the November 27, Advent begun - a period of calmness and concentration, marking in Christianity the time when believers await the birth of Jesus and prepare for it. We can turn the Christmas Holiday waiting into a miracle - let's give ourselves and our families a chance to spend the evenings together: creating festive decorations, decorating home, talking about holidays and its meaning. Let's give our families the mornings, colored by the joy of the Advent calendar. Let's light up the Christmas waiting's candles in the hearts of our homes.
The rituals and customs that are important and necessary for people, repeated from year to year, will not disappear. From our lives disappears what is no longer needed only, incomprehensible, unrecognizable. There are some customary heritage rituals, holidays, which even if are no longer relevant, but for today's people, it becomes a pleasant entertainment.
At this Christmas when Christ comes, will He find a warm heart? Mark the season of Advent by loving and serving the others with God's own love and concern. ― Mother Teresa, Love: A Fruit Always in Season
Nobody could take away the celebration of Christmas Eve, Christmas joy from the Lithuanians. We need these traditions. However, we could return back the rituals of the Advent. If we could not to distract at the evenings in December, but come back home a bit earlier and sit with the family at the table, decorated with an Advent wreath; if we could burn a candle, drink a coffee or tea, and talk meaningfully sharing our thoughts while waiting for Christmas, we would really feel that doing so, we become closer to each other. And it would be desirable to continue such a tradition of commonality throughout the year.
Let's talk about Advent - the time for Christmas waiting - and its meaning to each of us.
What Is An Advent?
In Latin, the word Adventus means coming. An Advent for Christians is a period of concentration, the purification of the spirit and the body. It begins the liturgical year of the religious holidays. This period is intended to mark the time until Jesus' birth.
During the Advent, Christians traditionally fasting on Fridays, and during the entire Advent, they refuse to make noisy amusements, spend more time thinking.
Advent is a season observed in many Christian churches as a time of expectant waiting and preparation for both the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas and the return of Jesus at the Second Coming.
Catholic's Advent begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas. So the beginning of this period can range from November 27th to the 3rd of December. This year, Advent begins on 27th of November. Anglicans, Lutherans, and some other Christian communities begin to celebrate the sixth Sunday before Christmas, or the first Sunday after Martin's Day (November 11).
During this peaceful period, after completing the main, planned works of the ending year, to evaluate them, to think about future plans, to think about what should be improved in our lives, what good qualities we should foster, and what should be abandoned.
Advent - Christmas Waiting Time - Photo credit: west-balaton.hu
The Main Traditions Of Advent
The Advent came to Lithuania with Christianity, although it is clear that some of its traditions are related to pre-Christian Lithuanian customs. It is not known exactly when the Advent appeared in the Western world. December 25th as the birthday of Christ has been established about 300 years AD. However, it is known that already in 480 years AD, Advent really existed, and in 567, the church officials issued a decree for monks to take fasting every day of December until Christmas.
What are the main advent traditions?
The Advent wreath usually is made of decorated spruce or pine branches with four candles. The four candles mean both four seasons of the year and four weeks of Advent. One candle is lighted up on the first Advent's Sunday. On the second Sunday - two candles are lighted up. On the third Sunday - three candles, and on the last Sunday before Christmas, all four candles are lighted up.
Traditionally, an Advent wreath candle was lighted up when the family sits at the table. The lighting up time became an opportunity to discuss daily work, talk, and pray together.
According to ethnological sources, candle colors were also important - three violets and one pink candle needed to light up on the Advent wreath. The pink candle, which symbolizes the joy, was supposed to be lighted up at the third Sunday of Advent. Some Advent wreaths also include the fifth, Christ's candle, is lighted up through Christmas Eve or Christmas day. Advent wreaths can be found both in churches and at home.
The Advent wreath appeared as a Protestant tradition, but it was taken over by many branches of Christianity. The wreath of the Advent is suitable everywhere - both in a city apartment and in a village home, in a respectable place on the table. Unfortunately, today for many, it has become just a doorway or window decoration - it decorates the house, but people do not know the meaning.
A wreath woven from evergreen plants resembles an eternal circle of life. But basically, it's a commemorative home decoration inviting you to communicate, listen to each other, feel the goodness together, share your day's troubles and joy. It feels more cozy and pleasant to talk in the light of candles. It creates an atmosphere of mutual understanding.
Advent Wreath - Photo credit: twitter.com
The Advent Fasting
Another important tradition of Advent is fasting. The word Advent describes the very period, and the fasting is a Christian tradition during which Christians abandon meat and dairy meals on certain days. Sometimes meat and milk were only abandoned on Fridays, sometimes on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and sometimes during the entire Advent. During the fasting period only food of vegetable origin, as well as fish, could be eaten.
In the past, the fasting was more rigorous, even the children who had already received the first communion were not released from it. Only ill people for some reason had a chance to break the fasting tradition if it endangered their health.
Nowadays, you can find many delicious recipes from fish, fruit, and groats. The choice is great. From the simplest ingredients, you can prepare great meals. However, through the Advent (and not just through it), we should keep moderation and not overeat - for our own health. Fasting traditions simply teach us, help us develop eating habits as simple, easier, and healthier as possible.
The Advent Fasting - delfi.lt
The Advent calendar as a tradition became popular in the new times - at the junction of 19th - 20th centuries. Though most often, chocolate candies hide behind each page of the calendar, still the Advent calendar varies.
In some of their varieties, when you open the window of a new day, you can find a Christmas poem, while others include small gifts. Some cities abroad during the Advent period also set up a multi-meter Advent calendar in their main squares.
Advent calendar came to Lithuania from a culture-minded German nation. The purpose of such a calendar is to motivate a person every morning to stop and think. Even the simplest chocolate can be an incentive to do so. For example, before unrolling the sweets of that day, it's worth thinking about what I've done today, what I deserve.
Advent Calendar - Photo credit:15min.lt
Period Of Peace And Tranquility
Also, following the Christian tradition, it is advisable not to be entertained in the Advent period, to not make parties and celebrations. Better to devote more time for quiet communication, happy reunion.
The time for all entertainments and fun was considered the time between Christmas and the Three Kings.
Christmas Eve and Christmas end the old cycle of the year, and after it begins the new one, to which we need to be properly prepared, purified the body and soul.
Therefore, it was believed that it was necessary to return all debts until Christmas Eve, resolve conflicts that arose over the years, and to fundamentally to clean and organize the homes. And although they stole our items, they did not manage to steal the most important thing - trust in the person, the faith in goodness, and the love of life.
Such lessons in life give an invaluable experience, as it helps to realize that the most precious treasures are hidden within us, and no thieves in the world will be able to break in there.
At such moments, you feel unity with the universe, and realize that we are all bound by invisible threads, and if you pull one thread, then the vibrations will flow down, touching every living creature. That is why the most painful lessons are so invaluable because they show which person next to you is a sensitive neighbor, a friend, a colleague who comes to you when you feel bad and have a hard time.
Christmas Waiting Time - Photo credit: intranet.olsh.vic.edu.au
Christmas Waiting Time's Meaning To Me
Christmas is the coziest holiday of the year. On this day, the world stops, and the people who are closest to us become the most important. This is a time when we get better.
I try to stop myself and do not succumb to the storming pace and the urgent purchase of gifts, like the life will end after the holidays. I would lie if I say it's easy to resist when everyone else behaves differently. I open Sarah Ban Breathnach's book Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy, and try to grasp what really the Christmas spirit and Christmas gifts are?
And so, Christmas - that is the tied up by the threads of the heart. Gifts that turn earthly things into magic. Gifts that cherish the souls of both the giving one and the taking one. Unconditional love. Selflessness. Trust, Faith. Forgiveness. New features. Consolation. Joy. Peace of mind. Generosity. Condolences. Mercy. Recognition. Courage.
We need to share these gifts. Sincerely open the heart and take these gifts with gratitude.
For me, this period involves an internal reflection on what was good or bad in my life this year, and the tentative look at what may be in the future. It is gratitude to myself, to all the life situations that taught me, to all the companions I met on the life's road. I got convinced that gratitude is a huge force.
We have to be grateful not only for good, kind or positive things but also for all the misfortunes, losses, and pains. Yes, I agree that the gratitude for this is the hardest and somewhat masochistic, but it helps to understand the lessons of life that were given to me. Such events not only harden but also help to grow spiritually and strengthen us.
Christmas Holiday - Photo credit: twitter.com
I am GRATEFUL for my cold sickness, that kept me in the bed for several days because, thanks to it, in the unlimited space of the internet, I found one single line that brought me to the spiritual growth site where I found many things close to my heart. Moreover, I dared write to the author of that site, and so I found my Soul Friend, from whom I learned a lot, as well as the above-mentioned the magic of gratitude.
I am GRATEFUL to the circumstances of life, which brought back our family's puppy, who was taken from us and them thrown out of home to the street, condemned to hunger death. The chest was filled with endless gratitude and love for the people who took the puppy and took care of him. I believe in miracles, and it happened! Our dog was brought back to us; he returned home. I will never forget his deep breath of gratitude after he was washed out, fed, and rested in a warm home. The great gratitude dissolved the ice of anger and hatred in the heart. Only Love remaining. And I got the lesson that the evil and good are walking along in the world and without one we do not know another.
I feel GRATITUDE for the fact that in the face of major disasters or loss of close family member, I feel even more clearly the presence of my close people, their support, a silent and warm embrace, the taste of tea drunk together, and the encouraging word.
Gratitude - Photo credit: plus.google.com
I feel GRATITUDE to the thieves who with dirty shoes went over not only our home but also our souls. And even though they stole our things, they could not steal the most important thing - the trust in the person, the faith in good, and the love of life. Such life lessons provide an invaluable experience, as it helps to realize that the most precious treasures are hidden within us, and no thieves of the world will be able to break in there. At such moments, you feel unity with the universe, and realize that we are all bound by invisible threads, and if you push one thread, then the vibrations will flow down, touching every living creature. That is why the most painful lessons are so invaluable because they show all the sensitive persons next to you: your neighbors, friends, colleagues, who come to you when you are feeling bad, and your life is hard.
I feel GRATITUDE to yoga lesson that facilitates not only my life in difficult times, but the accumulated experience helps to help those who need a timely given arm, word or a calming down touch. Yoga returns my confidence to myself. I can look at the problems from the perspective and take as much work as I can without hurting myself. It helps restore spiritual and physical strength when I feel tired because I want to do all the planned work before Christmas. Yoga gives me the flexibility and helps to remove the excessively raised expectations. It helps to feel the sweetness of a moment and realize that inner harmony and peace are more important than the work done perfectly.
Gratitude - Photo credit: mtmtv.info
On The Final Note
Christmas waiting time is the time when we wait for the light and prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. According to the old worldview, the sun is coming back, the light, and warmth. This is a very hopeful time. While we are waiting we get together, we concentrate, we think about what we have to do to make the new year would start beautifully. We have to return all year's debts, to complete all big works to feel calm. We have to apologize to those who we offended and plan what good we will do after Christmas.
I wish to all my friends and readers the calm Christmas waiting time and to enjoy the sweetness of all moments!
Thus, an Advent is time to remind you of being together, of feeling the close ones, of time to thank, apologize, and accept. Now it's time to remember the eternal, true values, to think about what we should change in ourselves and around ourselves so that we will be happier next year.
Christmas Waiting Time - Photo credit: twitter.com
Out of the Darkness, Into the Light: The Time before Christmas is the Time of Light and mutual Love. - Sir Kristian Goldmund Aumann
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