Advent can be a more challenging festival for some people, depending upon one’s spiritual and religious orientation. The book, “An Overview Of The Waldorf Kindergarten” edited by Joan Almon has this to say:
“December brings special challenges to the Waldorf Kindergarten teacher, for Christmas is a vivid part of our culture and a festival that brings deep joy to children. However, there is a tendency to be so overt in one’s celebration of Christmas that the kindergarten comes to feel more like a Christian Sunday School than like a Waldorf kindergarten. This brings great pain to our non-Christian families, but it is problematic even for the children of Christian background. Within the Waldorf kindergarten the festivals are not meant to be “taught” but are offered in a light manner, much like telling a fairy tale, which allows the children great freedom to come to the festival as they will. When offered in a spirit of gratitude and with a sense of wonder and awe, something of the essence of the festival can speak to children.”
Steiner spoke of “Christmastide” in his lecture “The Christmas Festival In The Changing Course Of Time”:
“Seeking souls have every reason to ask themselves: “What can this “Christ festival” mean to us?” And in their hearts they can admit: Precisely through Spiritual Science something will be given to humanity, which will bring again, in the fullest sense of the word, that depth and greatness which cannot be any more today. If we don’t succumb to illusion and phantasy we must admit that these can no longer exist at present. What has become often a mere festival of gifts cannot be said to have the same meaning as what the Christmas festival meant to people for many centuries in the past. Through the celebration of this festival the souls used to blossom forth with hope-filled joy, with hope-borne certainty, and with the awareness of belonging to a Spiritual Being, Who descended from Spiritual heights, and united Himself with the earth, so that every human soul of good may share in His powers. Indeed, for many centuries the celebration of this festival awakened in the souls of men the consciousness that the individual human soul can feel firmly supported by the spiritual power just described, and that all men of good will can find themselves gathered together in the service of this spiritual power. Thereby they can also find together the right ways of life on earth, so that they can mean humanly as much as possible to one another, so that they can love each other as human beings on earth as much as possible.”
Steiner goes on to say in this lecture that Advent provoked a specific mood within the people”:
“The essential thing is that a mood prevailed during the Christmas season, the days and week surrounding the Christmas festival, to which the heart was given over, a mood in which the whole village would participate, and which enable people to take in with simple immediacy all the representations that were brought before their souls.”
Later in the same lecture he says:
“Now I ask you, please notice what this means: to call upon Nature in such a way that one greets everyone whom one wishes to greet with a certain mood in one’s heart, a mood which arises from: “the roots, large and small, which are in the earth, many and all.”
So my thought is thus: even if you do not celebrate Advent, can you work to bring some of this reverent mood to your home during this Season? Can you be connected to the holy, the great, the spiritual?
Many mothers ask me about inner work. I would like to offer you a series on Inner Work for Advent. Stay tuned!