Advent prepares the heart and hearth for the coming of Christ, celebrated on December 25. Advent begins four Sundays prior to Christmas. The spiritual theme is inner and outer preparation while waiting. Advent heralds the beginning of a new liturgical year, and purple reminds us of the Infant King’s birth (purple a royal color) in the purple-rich darkness of early winter nights.
Last year I purchased some figurines (Fontanini) that represent the historical events and culture included with the Nativity. These I gift at the onset of Advent to grandchildren. They may unwrap one a day or every other day to spread out the Advent waiting. While the grandchildren are young, they are learning through the lovely figurines that come with small story pamphlets. This year they are receiving shepherds, shepherdesses, sheep and sheepfolds.
I try to do any task with consideration and prayer. Thus, each small box is wrapped with the Advent color of purple as well as the browns of humility (from Latin humus or earth). How fun to vary paper and ribbons! Little children do notice and appreciate the details; their lives are not yet so distracted, and small things mean much, always–and don’t have to be costly. Buy sale items.
Although I found the Fontanini on sale and is an heirloom gift that can be passed on through generations, Advent gifting can be quite humbly accomplished. Tiny items such as ingredients for baking Christmas cookies can be gifts for the children to unwrap, one day at a time, through the final ingredient, apron and spoon, concluding with the recipe to unwrap. Or, there can be notes each day to unwrap and read, with clues for discussion of loving topics and activities to include the beauty of giving to others in Advent waiting.
Lighting the Advent candles daily or on Sundays (with or without a wreath), singing a hymn, reading a poem, sharing a story or scripture during Advent remind us of not only the liturgical season but of all the reasons why we are here on earth, so blessed.