The church year begins next Sunday. I’m always at a loss as how to best keep/celebrate Advent. When I was home with my family, we would light candles, sing, read from the Bible, and “ring those bells and turn around.” I just bought God is in the Manger by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and I’m trying to read through Isaiah 40-55 each week. What do adults typically do for Advent? My other custom is feeling generally grumpy about listening to too much Christmas music before Christmas. I limit myself to the ever excellent Sufjan Stevens Christmas albums and Messiah. Speaking of which…
Messiah sing-along is next week. I can’t think of a better way to kick off the advent season. And do you know how rarely you get to sing chorally as an adult? I wish I’d appreciated the opportunities to sing in choir more in high school and college. I’ll be there with my much annotated score, ready to sing until I get hopelessly lost in endless baroque runs.
Baby sister is home for Thanksgiving this week. Of course I can’t wait to see her, hug her, annoy her, but the real reason I’m glad she’s home: read aloud time! When we’re both at home for vacations, we have to bunk up together. Literally. I get the bottom bunk, and she gets the top. This summer, I read Anne of the Island out loud to her because you can’t get a proper education without having read this book before going to college. This Christmas…we’re reading A Christmas Carol. I’ve been scanning through it, and truly I can’t think of a better story for the Advent season. If there’s one thing Charles Dickens nails, it’s redemption.
I stumbled across this Norman Rockwell painting. I will always love Norman Rockwell. My favorite Christmas book in the world is the Norman Rockwell Christmas book. My parents had a copy that we would pore through. And last year, I was given my own copy. It features some amazing short stories, poems, memoirs of Christmas, all punctuated by the ever homy work of Rockwell.