Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don’t give up.
When a tourist asked a farmer how to get to a distant town , the farmer replied, You can’t get there from here. We might give the same answer if asked how to get from the First Sunday of Advent to Christmas without detouring into the traffic jammed regions of Distraction, Frustration or All-out Anxiety. But if we take one step at a time, we can get there from here in a spirit of calm readiness and joyful anticipation.
Advent is a good time to do a house inspection. Is the house of your life resting on a solid rock foundation? Or might it be slipping onto the sand of good intentions that get washed away with the tide of events? By building our lives on the rock of Christ instead of the sands of the world’s values, we are able to withstand trouble and tragedy, steadied through the storms of life.
Advent Activity: Make a gingerbread house. Take time to reflect on the condition of your house
Do you know what the secret is to building a great looking Gingerbread House. You simply use a box or several boxes of Graham Crackers to build your Ginger Bread House. Using Graham Crackers you can quickly and easily assemble a Ginger Bread House or even a Ginger Bread Village.
The tradition of baking the sweetly decorated houses began in Germany after the Brothers Grimm published their collection of German fairy tales in the early 1800s. Among the tales was the story of Hansel and Gretel, children left to starve in the forest, who came upon a house made of bread and sugar decorations. The hungry children feasted on its sweet shingles. After the fairy tale was published, German bakers began baking houses of lebkuchen, spicy cakes often containing ginger, and employed artists and craftsmen to decorate them.
The houses became particularly popular during Christmas, a tradition that crossed the ocean with German immigrants. Pennsylvania, where many settled, remains a stronghold for the tradition. It is believed gingerbread was first baked in Europe at the end of the 11 th century, when returning crusaders brought the bread and the spicy root back from the Middle East.
Ginger wasn't merely flavorful, it had properties that helped preserve the bread. Not long after it arrived, bakers began to cut the bread into shapes and decorate them with sugar. Nuremberg, Germany, became known as the Gingerbread Capital of the World in the 1600s when the guild employed master bakers and artisans to create intricate works of art from gingerbread, sometimes using gold leaf to decorate the houses
I won't be making the gingerbread house today, instead I like to think of prayer and work as the balanced activities which ground a lifetime. If we let work grow out of proportion, we risk losing the meaning of life. If we don’t work, we risk wasting our talents. My work is mostly around home these days, but I do keep busy.
We cannot eliminate upsets and anxiety from our lives, but Advent is a good time to slow down and remember where we should look for stability and peace.
Advent Tip; Today, take time out to recognize all of life's miracles despite how subtle or small they may seem.
As always Thursdays are my day to be THANKFUL. This one is no different. Today I'm thankful that due to all the wonderful resources on the web for Advent. I'll be having many things to share with you each day.
I'm not a great writer but I am a great reader and I love passing on bits and pieces of what I find.
I hope that today is one in which you'll find many things to be thankful for too.