Sunday, December 04, 2005

Second Week of Advent

Here we are in the Second Week of Advent. Christmas is rushing towards us with frightening speed and our preparations are keeping pace, but just.

Advent is a time of preparation, reflection and penance. Not really a time for celebration. Accordingly, we generally don't put up our decorations until just before Christmas.

We do put our the Advent Wreath, of course. Each night we light the appropriate candles and share a family scripture reading and devotional moment. We also have an Advent Calendar which is a Nativity Scene. The figures are all magnetic and each day we add a new figure to the metal backdrop.There are two other "decorations" that go up early.

Cathy puts up her Department 56 Nativity and I put out my Christmas Village.

In keeping with Tradition, CAC doesn't put the Holy Family in the Nativity until Christmas. So, in a way, this too becomes an Advent symbol -- a place prepared for the coming Christ child.

CAC started collecting pieces about four years ago when the first piece caught her eye and I bought it for her. Over the years, she's been gifted with new pieces until the village has reached its present size. The good folks at Dept. 56 seem to be less than enthused about continuing this particular line, so our version of Bethlehem is probably as big as it will ever be.

My village, on the other hand, is ever changing. It started back in '00 when I went to Lowe's and and found that they had their village pieces on sale for 50% off. (It was only a couple of weeks before Christmas.) I started with a lighthouse, a church, the Parson's house, a coffee shop, a hotel, train station and a flower shop. Each year I've added two or three buildings, but the buildings are selected because they have some connection to us.We have a lot of nautically-themed items -- boat shops, sailing academies, seaside get the idea. We also have a bookstore (with an acting studio on the second floor), an English pub, a Shakespeare-themed inn, and a tea shop.

Part of the fun of the village is recreating it in different ways each year. I typically use between eight and ten buildings and each year the village is unique. This year (as you can see from the pictures above) I chose to go with a landlocked village. It was a departure, but I'm happy with the results.

Sometime during the week before Christmas, the rest of the decorations will go up.