Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Bethlehem Minus Ten, and Counting ...

If the truth be known Advent calendars are a dangerous distraction this season. Decembers, certainly my Decembers, would not be the same without them, but they can lull the window-opener into a false sense of security. Because they, sorry – we – are counting up. Whereas we ought to be counting down. The dawning knowledge that there are only ten days until Christmas Eve is a stark reminder of how little time we, sorry – I – have left.

A distant Facebook friend commented this week that she wishes that there were more days in Advent in order to get the tasks done and the lists fulfilled. She was clearly born after her time, for there was once a six week Advent. In the fifth century the season of preparation began on the 11th of November, St Martin’s Day, and it was a time of abstinence and fasting. The four week Advent was not introduced until the following century, and by then the notion of fasting had been dropped. Still, even six weeks would produce a clutch of complainers that there aren’t enough Sundays in the season.

For many years I have organized my domestic Christmas tasks and intentions using two sheets of paper and a stub of a pencil. This may seem ridiculous when my Blackberry controls all other aspects of my calendar week, but I have learned that the pencil is mightier than the small keyboard when walking at speed between stores and car.

Today I am pleased. Over three-quarters of the items on the first piece of paper have been checked off. These are Christmas gifts and reminders. The second page is for Christmas food, but that is another subject for another day. Suffice to say I have today ordered a crown roast of lamb.

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