I grew up in a Catholic-dominant country, the Philippines, where the spirit of Christmas is manifested as soon as the month ends in -er. The background music in the malls start to fill the air, and the display of Christmas goodies is all around. Sounds like months-long preparations for a seemingly Christian tradition. It’s different from where I am now. Although I missed the tradition I grew up with, I learned to embrace the Advent celebration here in Sweden. It’s when people are anticipating Christmas.
I have never missed a year without Advent candles on the table. The concept is to light a candle when Advent starts and every Sunday to light all four candles at Christmas. Advent usually commences on the last Sunday of November, but sometimes it falls on the first Sunday of December, though rarely. I normally light each candle up to less than a quarter to form a stair when Christmas comes.
At this time of year that I put out my candlesticks and replace the lamps on the window sill. The Advent candles and the candlesticks have been my favourite Christmas paraphernalia. They remind me that it’s Christmas in four weeks. Even when we leave the apartment for a trip, I still put these things out. Since we are not planning on travelling this time, I think of writing a post with an image of the four candles lighted up on Christmas Day.
This Swedish tradition has lived in my heart and mind, and I truly appreciate its essence as I wait for the arrival of Christ’s birth at Christmas. This is one tradition that I can’t live without celebrating every year.