By Emily Malloy
I have rich memories of Advent Calendars from my childhood, specifically one that was displayed in the lobby where my father worked. My feet that carried me each day closer to Christmas clanked on the cold lobby floor and carried me closer to to stop and gaze, mesmerized by the Advent Calendar display. The opening of the ornate Advent doors peppered throughout the festive comedy National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation had my heart filled with the same excitement found in that little bank lobby. There is something magical about Advent calendars, particularly in the eyes of a child; perhaps it is the simplicity in the numbering of days in anticipation.
So much of our cultural focus throughout December is in the conjuring of merriment and cheer in the countdown to Christmas. What fun it would be to take this concept to celebrate the accumulating days of the Christmas season! As Catholics, our liturgical celebration of Christmas begins on Christmas and carries us through January. How exuberant it is to exchange the hymns of longing that marked our four-week journey for those of celebration of the days of Christmas!
Using this concept of the Advent Calendar in celebrating the many days of Christmas recaptures the festive spirit that accrued during the seasons of yore. With each day of Christmas, we merrily mark each day with the surprise of a new goodie, working our way through many important feast days through the Epiphany and beyond (maybe even to the Feast of the Presentation!).
As we inch closer through our journey in Advent toward Christ's coming, many Advent calendars are now on sale, which is an added bonus. Just as we use these numbers to countdown the days until Christmas, we can also use these same numbers (and the treats they reveal) to mark the days and blessings of Christmas.