Building Ritual Into A Season – Advent With Me (1)


This year is the first year I’m thinking intentionally about Christmas traditions & ritual in our home, for the sake of the small person and the tales he may tell when he’s older.  So it was important that I rummaged around in the roof space last night and dug out father christmas and the hats, socks and mittens to fill with chocolate all ready for the 1st December.

advent2There’s a massive sickness about Christmas and this horrible, shopping fuelled, debt ridden, reality TV saturated time that is held in tension with pure pleasure at frosty air, twinkly lights, cinnamon & mixed spice and songs & carols I’ve sang all my life.  I grew up around a lot of critique that echoed with the “Jesus is the Reason for the Season’ slogan but I have found that the energy that went into that campaign was as exhasuting and destructive as any flavour of consumerism.

I’ll be honest, Christmas is lovely and special for me because I get to snuggle up in silly pyjamas with people that I love, I get to give gifts which is a favourite thing to do but more significantly I like the way a lot stops for a day, the only day really that the cities and towns I’ve lived in go quiet.   There are usually log fires, cheese and biscuits, singing, chocolate and sleeps.

I’d like the ritual at this time of year in our home to be less about a day and more about a season.

Whilst for many this season is about bustle and busy and getting ready, I’m proposing a season of rest and contemplation.  Don’t get me wrong we’ve plenty of bustle, busy and getting ready to be doing, but I’ve decided to commit to cutting down on TV and spending my evenings in during Advent reading and thinking.  I feel a little hassled and overloaded and overstimulated and it feels like a symbolic countercultural act of resistance to avoid advertising, beautiful, unreal people and homes and noise on a screen in place of something more embodied and quiet like reading.

Will you join me?

I’m not sure about the religious markers in advent both knowledge or significance wise but I like the idea of a ‘waiting season’ because it implies slowing, thinking and consciousness and I think we all need a bit more of that in life.  I’ll be reading a wide range of words, matched with more walking & running.

I think I’ll go running in the Titanic Quarter and on the tow path at Shaw’s Bridge, as well as revisiting  old routes at Stormont and on the Glenmachan Road, maybe I will even give the trails on Cave Hill a go.


I’ll be reading The Varieties of Religious Experience, A Theology of Embodiment, Attaching & Resilience, Mutton, Heavenly Participation, Intimacy, Fecundity & Ecstasy & finishing Moranthology which contains some of the most profound and moving essays on welfare reform I’ve ever come across.

I’ll post some quotes & some pictures.

Will you join me?

Would you consider cutting down/out TV for advent?  Reading instead? Walking & running a bit more?  If you might let’s do this together..

  • Blog & tweet (#adventwithme) about your advent season – link & share between here and each other
  • Post comments/email me pieces of writing, quotes you’ve read, pictures of things you’ve seen/photos taken
  • Encourage others who you think might join in to get involved too

My Friday nights in advent 2012 will be for reflecting on #adventwithme.


Filed under Bodies & Beauty, Culture, Talk About God: Theology

4 responses to “Building Ritual Into A Season – Advent With Me (1)

  1. Thanks for the timely invite to participate in this advent journey. I am challenged by your prompt to slow down, change some habits and rest in something other than media or myself.

  2. Virginia

    I truly believe Advent is one of the best ‘seasons’ and should be lived to the full. Mine starts with making the Christmas pudding and the Christmas cake. Both have had the fruit soaked for a week in a delicious cocktail of spirits. Then we put up the first phase of decorations – the front door wreath, the swags up the stairs with sparkly stars lights, the greenery on the mantelpieces, the multiple nativity sets and of course the advent calendar and candles. Wonderful!

  3. what a lovely idea, harriet. excited to follow along.

  4. Virginia

    This morning before I got dressed, as soon as I woke up I went downstairs and switched on all the Christmas lights, found the star that is number 4 on my wooden advent calendar, opened my father christmas advent calendar, put on some vegetables to roast, made a cup of tea. I took the tea upstairs and sorted through all Tim’s follow up medical appointments and filed them. I turned on the bath, went back into the bedroom, peeped through the curtains and saw the frost on the roof of the factory behind our house and it glinting off the leaves of our apple tree, turned and saw Tim lying asleep in our bed and was …overwhelmed by how good it is to be alive!

    Praise God for his mercy and grace.

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