Do You Use an Advent Calendar in Your House?
Each morning for the past number of weeks, our daughter Rosaleen heads downstairs to move the Advent calendar onto a new day. It's a little ritual of hers at this time of year. When she was small, there was a new treat in there for each day (good training that worked ) - and it's lovely to see the tradition maintained.
This time of year – the lead into Christmas – seems to become more commercial each year here in Ireland. It’s as if shops are willing Christmas to stretch back in to November.
But I also find that this time of year has a quiet beauty all of its own. A time that calls us to look inwards, to slowdown and conserve energy – and wait for the feast that comes at the end of the year.
One of my own favourite Irish Poets is Patrick Kavanagh of County Monaghan – have you heard of him? I find that his poem “Advent” captures the essence of reflection and simplicity. Here are just some of his lines:
“We have tested and tasted too much, lover –
Through a chink too wide there comes in no wonder.
But here in the Advent-darkened room
Where the dry black bread and the sugarless tea
Of penance will charm back the luxury
Of a child’s soul, we’ll return to Doom
The knowledge we stole but could not use.
And the newness that was in every stale thing
When we looked at it as children: the spirit-shocking
Wonder in a black slanting Ulster hill
Or the prophetic astonishment in the tedious talking
Of an old fool will awake for us and bring
You and me to the yard gate to watch the whins
And the bog-holes, cart-tracks, old stables where Time begins.
From Advent, Patrick Kavanagh, 1904 – 1967
Do you have a favourite Irish Poet or Poem? Do feel free to share yours in the comment section below.