Songbirds ... a family blogs!

Songbirds ... a family blogs!

Sonntag, 6. Dezember 2009

Advent, advent...

Now there is Christmas Time. We call it Advent - awaiting the arrival of Jesus Christ, the birth of the light, the return of the sun.
To me it is very much the same thing.
The sun is the powerful life-bringer - without it there would be nothing. God is the creator of life - Jesus his son brought light, love and peace into this world (if you see it in a literal or symbolic way doesn't matter.)
Whatever we celebrate, at the core of this special time of year is light.
Because we don't get much of it, everyone yearns for it. We light candles, make it cosy in our homes and come closer together.
We are longing for light - literaly and symbolically.

The celebration of Christmas and Solstice has changed often and in many ways throughout history. It was always a time of gifts, of enjoyment, of thoughtfulness, of feast and of songs and stories.
When people nowadays complain, that Christmas has become a time of waste and consumerism...I wonder.
Many even start hating this season and don't want to take part in it.
I personally think that they are spoil-sports. ;-)
What is wrong with making the darkest time of the year colourful and sparkly?
What is wrong with endulging and enjoying special things?
What is wrong with buying gifts for people that we love?
What is wrong with escaping the everyday rut to celebrate and feast?
The rest of the year we are busy - Winter was in the past a time of rest, a time when people couldn't work much and had to spend a lot of time in the house.
It was also very dark, especially during the days when there was no electricity.
So, why not celebrate life, love, light and the start of the cycle of seasons to brighten this darkest of all months?
What better time would there be?
I do agree with most people who don't like the stress that many put upon themselves when going Christmas shopping. I don't like that, either.
But everything beautiful in my eyes.
The secrecy, the thoughtfulness, the intention to make loved ones happy with a gift, the get-together of families and friends, the gorgeous food, the decorations and the numerous lights and candles, the singing, the story-telling,...

Some people also don't like Christmas because it is a christian celebration. Or let's say it was turned into a christian celebration.
But if you do some research most of Christmas is and always has been a mixture of Christian and heathen/folk traditions.

This is what we do during the Chrismas season:
- We don't use electric lights - just candles.
- We do have an Advent wreath, this year with only one big candle (usually we have 4, the original wreath used to have 24!).
- We like to bring nature into our home as in all the other seasons. For winter: Pinecones, rocks, fir tree branches, spruce branches and arbor vitae. Rosetwigs with rosehips and other red berries.
- We cut out stars and windowpictures from coloured cardboard or gold paper.
- We all have an advent calendar - home made with pictures.
This year we added a Playmobil calendar which St. Nicholas brought today.
- I am not in favour of Father Christmas, we are used to the Christkind. ;-) But that's only my nostalgia.
The children know both and I don't tell them they really exist. When they ask me I say 'Who knows? I like to imagine that they exist.' It's just fun. Like imagining there are fairies or gnomes, or witches - the magic world of childhood. :-)
- We bake traditional Christmas cookies and gingerbread (Lebkuchen)
- We listen to Christmas songs, various different kinds.
The kids love the traditional German songs, an old Christmas CD by the Kelly Family and one by the New Kids on the Block (I kept them since my youth ;-D), traditional English Carols played on a harp, sung by Sting or Maddy Prior, a collection of American Songs (Ella Fitzgerald, Bing Crosby, Doris Day etc.) and lots of classical.
- we read Christmas stories
- we watch Christmas DVDs such as 'It's a wonderful life', different Astrid Lindgren episodes (Kinder von Bullerbü, Lotta, Pelle zieht aus, etc.), Charles Dickens Christmas Carol, Little Women (which isn't a Christmas movie, but has winter and Christmas in it and is just one of those romantic, cosy films to watch on a cold day or evening), ...

Do you like Christmas? And what are your family traditions?