|Clemens Pfeiffer, Vienna|
The Advent SeasonThe season of advent marking the start of the Western liturgical year began on 2 December, making this the second Sunday of Advent. It precedes Christmastide, the traditional 12 days of Christmas running from December 25th until January 5th. In the early middle ages this was a period of fasting, running in some areas from St. Martins Day on November 11th until Rose Sunday, or the third Sunday of Advent.
How We Celebrate
Over time we have greatly simplified Christmas in our house. I used to be the type of Christmas celebrant whose home could easily be seen from low earth orbit, we have since toned it down considerably and I now decorate the house in a colonial fashion, with simple white electric candles in the windows. We have also changed the focus of Christmas in our living room from the Christmas tree, which is now small, to a mantle display featuring a creche, and small lighted ceramic buildings that my wife collects... a small village as it were. Not sure what I'm planning to do this year, as the space over our mantle now contains our television. The great thing about flat screens is the TV is no longer the central feature of our living room, and when off is relatively unobtrusive. What I need is some kind of box that turns it into a collection of classical paintings.
So, How Do You Celebrate Christmas?If all goes as planned, I'll have gotten the Christmas decorations out and up, and will have figured out what to do with the mantle this year by the time you read this. So kick back, grab a hot toddy or a glass of eggnogg, and share with the rest of us how you celebrate Christmas at home. Do you have 150,000 lights stressing out your local electrical grid? Or are you more subdued? Any unusual Christmas traditions handed down through your family? We always had a Bayberry candle burning on Christmas Eve when I was growing up. I'm not exactly sure why. But every year my mother lit the tall green taper and I remember that no one was allowed to blow it out, it had to be left to burn down and go out on its own. Every year I recall going to bed on Christmas Eve with a candle sitting in the kitchen sink because my mother was afraid it was going to burn the house down. So, anybody fasting these days?