And Joseph too went up from Galilee from the town of Nazareth to Judea, to the city of David that is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. Luke 2:4-5
Our home is conspicuously devoid of Christmas adornments in a neighbourhood where tiny lights twinkle on trees within and without. Instead, our door is decorated with an evergreen wreath entwined with a deep violet ribbon. On our table is a simple brass ring that holds long tapers of purple and rose, and a shelf displays painted wooden letters spelling out a new word each Sunday for the four weeks leading up to Christmas. This week, we are being reminded to live in “Hope”.
We haven’t done Christmas shopping. I’ve busied myself with procuring treats for the various Saints’ days of the season – chocolate coins for St. Nicholas Day (6 December), honey straws for St. Ambrose Day (7 December). I have visited our favourite Scandinavian gift shop for my annual supply of cloudberry jam, saffron, and dessert napkins printed with pretty St. Lucia Day images. We’ll be making a head wreath for our Lucy, and looking forward to Lussekatter and coffee as dawn breaks on the morning of 13 December. It may be Catherine’s last year before handing the role on to Caroline.
Along about the 23rd, we’ll finally venture out to choose a tree. We’ll pop some corn for garland while we wait for its new wearer to be set up in a corner of our family room. Paper chains will be made and lights strung up on the branches. On Christmas Eve, the boughs will be decked with handmade ornaments while Christmas music plays and cocoa is sipped. Perhaps we’ll be blessed with the change of a nap before preparing for “midnight” Mass where we will joyfully proclaim the arrival of the Newborn King, Emmanuel, God With Us.
But until then, it is Advent.