Early December, the countdown begins, and inevitably I find this time of year memories of childhood are close. I remember the excitement of opening the first little doors on glitter encrusted cardboard advent calendars – no chocolate treats concealed when I was small, just pictures… Or sometimes, less frivolously, Bible texts – to make sure I didn’t forget the “true” meaning of Christmas.
These days I can download an animated interactive advent calendar if I want to, and for most children today an actual door to open without a sweet treat behind it would be a bit disappointing! However I must not become an old cynic, and I confess I enjoy the animated advent calendar on my computer!
But one recurring delight for me this week is opening the curtains to a light dusting of blossom.
Our winter flowering cherry is like an advent calendar in that it faithfully begins its flowering at the start of December. As in previous years its delicate, un-glittered flowers are a reminder to me of hope as we enter winter, and the special promise of new birth and new beginnings when the year is at its darkest.