My two sons are crazy about Legos. If you are not familiar with Legos, they are small plastic building blocks that stir a child’s imagination. They can be made into a multi-colored wall, a simple house, or, a replica of the Kennedy inauguration complete with the Congressional building, steps, band, flags, and officials. Nevertheless, I’m pretty sure that Lego is Greek for stepping-barefoot-on-a-sharp-object.
This year, their grandparents gave the boys a Lego Advent Calendar. Each day, a new panel is opened which contains Lego pieces that they can use to build a simple object. Day 1 was a police man, day 2 was a dog, day 3 a small lunar rover. I’m hoping that by Christmas, each of these 25 mini-sets will converge into one big scene. At this point it just looks like a picnic on the moon, but we’ll see.
Every Sunday in Advent, Episcopalians around the world light another candle on their Advent wreaths. This Sunday, it will be four candles. This tradition started, as far as anyone can tell, in 1839. Johann Wichern devised a flat wreath made from an old wagon wheel. To educate children about Advent and to count up to the birth of Christ, he placed a white candle around the wheel-turned-wreath for each odd day and a red candle for the even days. Children would light one candle per day until Christmas. He took this idea from a 16th century German tradition of making wreaths. It is said that evergreen branches symbolize everlasting life brought through Jesus and the circular shape of the wreath represents God – no beginning or end.
I’ve been pondering the Advent wheel. God completed the work of salvation with Christ; yet the wheel keeps rolling. I like Advent, but it’s not complete until all the candles are lit. And, when they are lit, the wheel turns again for another year. When Christ does return, one of the things I’ll miss in our post-Pentecost/pre-2nd coming era, is Advent with the wreath and candles at the center. Or, perhaps, things will be so jolly when he does return that I won’t think a thing about it. Maybe when he returns, it will be like taking 25 Lego creations and seeing them in harmony with one another in a scene-yet-seen at this time.
As the Advent calendar winds down to a close, may the light of Christ shine within you.
- Fr. Marshall