the Anderson Shelter
PERHAPS it seems early to think of
Christmas. If it does it is probably because we see Christmas as a single day rather than as the climax of four weeks' preparation. A few hundred years ago—before the splitting up of Christendom—we had a special way of announcing the coming of Christ. I believe it was common to almost the whole of Europe, but we have lost it completely, as we have lost so many, other Catholic custom! that remain and thrive in other coun tries.
All over Europe people prepares outwardly for Christmas by the mak
ing of Advent Wreaths. It would he a fine thing if we could try to revive it here this year. A time when God is being made much more part of our lives than formerly is a good opportunity to try to blow up the smallest sparks of faith into a flame again.
it ought to be a family affair to make an Advent Wreath. It needs a handyman—or woman—to begin the work. Children are the best people to search out the strips of evergreen, because they have the gift of squeezing between prickles and thorns and among undergrowth with . much more ease than grown-ups--certainly with more carefreeness than their mothers. to whom laddered stockings are now much more of a nightmare than two months ago!
Then the assembling of the wreath reeds someone with a head for decoration and the hanging of it someone with doesn't possess all these characteristics between its members it would be an easy plan to make an Advent Wreath in the Anderson shelter.
THE wreaths are not difficult to make. Get some wire and twist it into a strong circle. about one foot or eighteen inches across. If you can't get wire, perhaps you could cut a circle out of a bit of pre-war plywood. If that is also out of the question one can always roll newspaper into spirals and make the
circle from that. Then twist strips of evergreen round the circle—the more of it the better, and secure it with some purple ribbon. Yew is the best because of the featheriness of its leaves, but if yew
is impossible without robbing a grave yard, then any evergreen will do—holly,
ivy, box, privet or even rhododendron. Tie four strips of purple ribbon at equal intervals round the circle and tie the ends in a knot. It is from this that you suspend the wreath from the ceiling. All this should be done so that the wreath is ready for the first Sunday of Advent. On that day it is hung up and a single candle is fixed among the green and the youngest member of the family is privileged to light it. The Light of the World is coining before long and the little flame of the candle is the symbol of His coming. A week later a second candle is added.
ON the third Sunday of Advent there are three candles. The Light of
the World is very close now. On Christmas Eve, at the last possible nionzent the wreath conies down, its purple ribbons are exchanged for white, and the fourth candle appears and is lighted. The waiting is over and Christ has been born again.
Perhaps we shall be spending a good deal of Christmas time in our sbelters. Why not make a small Advent wreath for the shelter? No one has much room there—indeed more often than not it is a case of Father saying " Turn " and we all turn! But a little wreath with four birthday cake candles could be fixed in even the smallest shelter; and nothing except a crib could give a better reminder of the meaning of Christmas.