Today is the first sunday of Advent. Advent is a time of preparation before the season of Christmas and the twelve holy nights leading into the season of Epiphany.
It has always struck me that the word Adventure contains the word Advent. Before an adventure we need to prepare ourselves: packing, planning, investigating, (and in my case fretting).
So Advent is the time to prepare for this journey into winter. If you live in the Northern hemisphere we are heading into winter (although looking outside I would say she has already arrived), heading towards the longest night of the year.
It saddens me that for many this season of Advent is filled with shopping, cooking, parties, busy-ness, as a lead-up to Christmas Day - and if you enjoy all of that then go in peace and carry on.
For me though it is a more inward time. A time of thinking about darkness, and light, of walking a spiral of cedar boughs and lighting a small candle nestled snuggly in a red apple. A time of reflecting on the shepherds in the fields, mothers and fathers, birth and babies.
I love the Christmas tree with its twinkling lights, the carols - the real carols like O Holy Night, O Little Town of Bethlehem, The First Noel, Joy to the World, well, you get the idea.
I have written about Advent before in this blog - as a mother, as a teacher, but this year it feels like I am seeing Advent in a new way.
It is the beginning of an Adventure - of facing the darkness more bravely perhaps, at the very least with more resolve.
There will be candles.
There will be the smell of cedar boughs.
There will be snow.
But most of all?
Most of all there will be Love,
and, perhaps, for just a single moment,
Peace on Earth, Good will to All.