I never really understood advent until a few years ago. I knew it was a time when there was a wreath with 3 purple & 1 rose (not pink) candle that symbolized the 4 weeks leading on up to Christmas. That was it. I didn’t understand that the weeks were themed.
I did know, however, that the pink candle was Gaudete Sunday and it was joyous day, which was why it was rose. I didn’t really put any thought into celebrating advent though because to me it just meant 4 weeks til Christams which meant incessant Christmas music, busyness from shopping, and brokeness from money spendin’. The advent season always left me kind of scrooge-y because I really don’t like Christmas music. I tend to find it insipid after hearing how it is the “most wonderful time of the year” on repeat.
Plus you get all the stinking Facebook memes about how to respond if someone says “Merry Christmas!” or “Happy Hannukah” or “Happy Kwanzaa” and why everyone should just say thank you and wish “Happy Holidays”. (Incidentally, “holiday” is a shortening of “holy day” so…Christians win regardless).
But yes, I’m a total Scrooge about Christmas
Last year, I decided to be more intentional about my advent. I made a wreath which I lit on Sundays and I resolved to not listen to Christmas music until December 25th. I’d love to say I resolved to pray more but…nope.
This year, I’m once again resolving to not listen to Christmas music until Christmas. I have a playlist of mostly advent music but also some just mellow reflection music that is unrelated to any particular liturgical season.
When I’m out in public I wear headphones (not loud enough to drown out everything, but loud enough that I can’t hear music playing, and I always, always! take the headphones out before I talk to a cashier, etc.) I’m also an introvert who likes not to be caught up in conversations with people I don’t know so heaphones work well to avoid that as well.
I also made a resolution to turn off my computer and to stay off my phone from 7:30pm until I go to bed. This helps me both sleep better and gives me a chance to read. One of my goals is to read Pope Benedict’s Infancy Narratives, I haven’t started it yet (got distracted by Chastity is for Lovers) but Infancy Narratives is now my go to because I devoured Arleen‘s book in less than 24 hours.
I’m also trying to pray more.
I am really rambling. Wow.
I also made cover pages for each of the weeks in Advent with verses from the Old Mass readings. I’m not a Latin Mass only person (there are none in my area so I’ve never even been to one) but I do like the Gospel readings better. I also made one for Christmastide. Also in Latin, but that is just because I love singing Adeste Fideles. I feel like part of being intentional about Advent is making people aware that Advent isn’t a free for all that is all about Christmas. It’s about reminding people that we are to pause, take a breath and reflect. In our crazy insane world, it’s nice to have a reminder to shut down, pause and reflect and, hopefully, pray.
I was going to add a list of all my advent tunes, but I feel like this is already pretty ramble-y.