We tell you about the sweet Advent.
See the first candle is burning.
We tell you about a holy time.
Make the way ready for the Lord.
Rejoice, you Christians, rejoice very much.
The Lord is almost here.
“How often do we have to sleep until we can open the first door of the Advent calendar?” This is what we hear the children in our kindergarten ask almost every day.
Sister Susanna-Maria, kindergarten teacher in Biberach, in the very south of Germany, is happy with the children about the beautiful time of Advent. She tells:
With December 1st, actually already with the feast of St. Martin on the 11th of November and its preparations, a very special and beautiful time begins every year in kindergarten. With the children we prepare for the coming of the Christ Child.
In the Advent season, for all helping, for every good word, a heartfelt thank you or apology the children are allowed to put a straw in the nativity scene into which the baby Jesus will be laid at Christmas. That’s the effort that it takes – because in the manger many straws fit! At the beginning of Advent, this is still a little hesitation, but over time, the children are very inventive. Everywhere they offer their help; you hardly hear a bad word. Every year we look forward to this time again, a lot of work will be done in these weeks.
Today we started to decorate our windows. And in the next few days we hear about the life of St. Nicholas, who has given gifts to many people. Surely he will bless us richly again this year! The children are already looking forward to it.
Sister M. Monike, director of kindergarten in Ergenzingen, adds:
We will meet the Holy Man with the children for the St. Nicholas’ Celebration outside in nature, sing songs for him, play, recite poetry and work with a legend from his life. Each child then gets a bag of nuts, a chocolate Santa Claus – quite worthy in the bishop’s robe with miter. It is very important to our team to mediate – even if we destroy illusions – that there is no Santa Claus!
And how is it with us in the Sisters’ family?
Each country has its Advent customs, but some customs of the country of origin have been taken by our first missionaries to their new home. A Chilean sister, who is experiencing Advent and Christmas in Schoenstatt, is thrilled and admits that now she can really understand the German Advent and Christmas songs, the customs with candlelight and Advent wreath. In Chile, Christmas is in the summer, you go in the heat to the swimming pool, and yet you can hear the song in the shops with snow-clad Nativity scenes: softly falls the snow.
The advent season brings much joy and strengthens family life, e.g. while baking cookies together. Here young and old can work together.
There is also the beautiful custom of having an “Advent Light” that secretly accompanies one along the way to the Miracle of the Holy Night. On every filiation and in the courses sisters choose each other’s name, place a little gift before the door of the one chosen, pray especially for her and give her something for Christmas. That is rather exciting and gives a happy sisterly atmosphere.
Naturally there is also a very busy preparation: letters to write, gifts to wrap. Above all we take into our prayers the intentions of all the people with whom we work, with whom we are connected and all the many people who are in need all over the world and who do not experience the birth of the Savior in peace and in faith. In our shrines we take all the intentions of the church, the petitions in the hearts of the people for faith and for peace in the world. Everybody likes to give more of their contributions to the capital of grace, so that Christ will be born again today.