Tuesday, November 29, 2016
We stepped very promptly from Thanksgiving to Advent, which means four Sundays until Christmas (including the one just past), though Christmas itself is on the following Sunday, which gives us an entire last week to finish shopping and putting up the tree and decorating the outside of the house or apartment. Our church held an Advent Wreath Making party after the ten o’clock service this past Sunday, aimed, probably, mostly at children. You may have seen one, the evergreen wreath sits flat on a table rather than hanging on a wall or door, and has four candles poking upward, three purple and one pink. The first Sunday you light a purple one, the second you light another purple one and then, surprisingly, you light the pink one on the third Sunday, and the last purple one on the last Sunday. Growing up Catholic, we were not allowed to put up the tree or surround a window with lights until Christmas Eve.
Anyway, between July 1966 and July 1968 I was in London. And some time in that period a friend and I visited Ely Cathedral – we were both fascinated by these ancient historic buildings. Ely dates to the 600s, but the present building was begun in 1083. It’s enormous and very beautiful. They were in the process of repairing the Lady Chapel, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, and had broken out the carved-stone windows. The pieces lay in a disordered heap on the ground, and I picked up a piece. I ended up bringing it home to Milwaukee, and then kept it on my many moves thereafter. At first I kept it because it’s part of a sacred place and I couldn’t think how to dispose of it, but it became one of my favorite souvenirs of my time in England. A few years ago, I decided to make an unusual Advent “wreath” of it. See photo below.