Monday, December 9, 2013

Advent 2013


             The story of the Christ Child as God's good gift to humankind has made Christmas the most beloved of seasons and perhaps the most widely observed and diversified in its celebrations!  As Christianity developed and spread from the Greco-Roman world, crossing cultures and spanning historical periods, it incorporated existing multi-cultural traditions, adapted them, and embraced them.  Thus, some of today's Christmas customs have no basis in theology or even the religious practices of that particular region, but that fact doesn't diminish our cherishing the entire "package."

My favorite Christmas tradition originates from our having lived in Germany where every town had a Christ Kinde market.  Vendors offered delicious, hot mulled wine to ward off the bitter cold and the aroma of gingerbread houses, men, reindeer, and cookies filled the air.  Advent was a new concept for me, but it was a ritual for the Germans.  They offered Advent candles, Advent wreaths, Advent calendars, and Advent angels with candles crafted in circular brass turning bases so that the candles' heat turned the angels around and around, striking their cymbals like delicate chimes. 

I began to collect angels, my favorite being the unglazed Dresden angel band.  Each held an instrument and they serenaded the sleeping Christ child with heavenly music.  Our three-year-old son Chuck could hardly resist playing with them so I put them on shelves I thought he couldn't possibly reach.  But he could.  I'd find angels on the floor with his trucks, mangled together in countless catastrophes.  I still have angels with missing fingers, mended harps, and another whose upper body is glued to her lower body at the waist, but some were damaged beyond repair.  For years I hunted for replacements.  Occasionally I'd find the right ones, but prices were too high and I passed.  Imagine my delight when Charles found the entire angel band in an antique shop here in Savannah and reasonably priced!  Christmas 2013 will find new angels rejoining their long-lost sisters on the livingroom mantle where they can once again surround the holy family.

As we approach Christmas in this Advent season, we are reminded once again that we will never be thrown away because we are no longer perfect.  Our faith in God and His son Jesus Christ will make whole again our broken lives, damaged families or relationships because our "defects" are never beyond God's power to mend.  Thanks be to God for His marvelous gift!

- Lynne Davis


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