A Wreath for Advent
FOUR weeks to Christmas.... Why are we, as it were, "tick ing off" the weeks until Christmas? We have always managed to get by somehow. Why so much emphasis on five weeks, four weeks, three weeks. . . .'
Because Christmas is a happy festival—and I don't see why the housewife should not enjoy it as well as all her family and friends and relations. And there is only one way of making sure she is going to be able to enjoy it. That is, amok preparation beforehand. Otherwise she is too tired, too busy, in too much of a whirl.
This coming Sunday is the beginning of Advent. Have you ever made an Advent wreath? This was once found hanging up in houses all over Europe. It is a circlet of evergreen, tied on a frame with coloured ribbons. whose loose ends tied together suspend it from the ceiling. On each Sunday in Advent one candle is lighted, thus symbolising the coming of the Light of the World on Christmas Day.
How to make it c TRONG wire is the best roundel-, tion for the wreath, but newspaper roiled into spirals and bound together with string is equally effective. The evergreen, of course, covers up the paper.
Now twist twigs of evergreen— yew, box, privet, holly or green laurel—round the frame and then secure in four places with purple ribbon—the liturgical colour for AdvenS: so change it to white ribbon on Christmas Day.
Leave four long ends, knot these together and fix to the ceiling.
Now place four candles amongst the evergreen. Make sure they are well supported (the candle-holders you use for Christmas-tree decoration are suitable) and that when lit they will not burn the ribbon.
The first candle IT is a nice custom on the first Sunday in Advent for the family and friends to gather round the wreath. A short explanation is given by one of the members of the family, a hymn is sung, and then the youngest person present lights the first candle. And so on each week until Christmas Day.
I am grateful to Phillipa StuartCraig, of the Grail, for letting me use this description of the Advent wreath, which is only one of the many lovely ideas she has to offer in A Candle is Lighted (ls.). This small paper-covered book can be obtained from any Catholic book shop. Every Catholic mother should possess a copy; it is packed full of Catholic customs, some now quite obsolete, others paganised, some practised without much thought given to their origin. Different carols NATE might perhaps begin looking through our Christmas carol books. Have we one really cornpresensive one with other carols in it than "Holy Night," "Good King Wenceslas," and "While Shepherds Watched"?
Children love singing carols and can usually learn them very quickly. Even if you can only pick out the tune with one finger, that is enough, though the accompaniments to some of the less-known carols are lovely.
And then of course we have the Crib to think about. We have the three central figures; are they intact? Could they do with a little touching up? What of the other figures in the Crib? If you have children they will probably like to place them farm animals near the Infant Child.
Plan your Crib
THERE are infinite ways of planning a Crib. You can use traditional figures or you can model your own. You can use cut-out figures or unpainted wooden figures. What is important is that the Crib should mean something to you.
Start collecting or making the figures for it now, thinking whereabout you will place it this year. Perhaps Daddy can be called in to rig up an illuminated star. It is no good pouncing such a suggestion on him on Christmas Eve though: a man usually needs notice of such a request!
Prepare, then, to make Christ welcome in your home this Christmas, and be less shy about acknowledging Him before your friends. Many people have forgotten the meaning of Christmas; everyone loves the Crib.
Correspondence Magazine T HAVE had so many letters from I HAVE
editors in response to my appeal that it is taking me some time to sort things out.
In consequence of the interest shown, I feel it is best to start with two separate groups. I thank all those who have volunteered to act as editress.
If there arc any other readers interested in this project, I would be only too pleased to put them in touch with one or other of the magazine editors.
This is essentially a female effort, i
roost, f not all, of the contributors being Catholics who are isolated by household duties or terrain.
The idea is that a contributor sends In her news and views to the editor at regular intervals. She in turn places them in a folder and sends them off to all the members of her magazine. After the last person has seen them, they are, of course, returned to the editor and filed.