Beginning on Sunday, we are heading into the second week of Advent. Advent is just long enough for us to prepare for Christmas and establish some new spiritual rhythms. The first week of Advent can often sneak up on us right after Thanksgiving, but the second week feels like this momentary pause where we can make things really matter.
One thing I am very committed to this week is getting out in nature every day. The second week of Advent is typically associated with the plant kingdom in the tradition of the Waldorf School, so getting outside and noticing the bare tree limbs and the evergreens seems to fit into that so well. It also seems fitting to wonder at the beauty of nature this week as we come up to Santa Lucia Day on Friday the 13th, as this day used to be the Winter Solstice under the old Gregorian calendar. The day typically did start before dawn with the oldest girl in the family rising and preparing buns for the family. The bun recipe we used for years is in this post, along with a link to the traditional Santa Lucia song. If you are looking for a story to share with your children, look no further than this wonderful guest post: A Gentle Santa Lucia Story. There is also a story by Waldorf teacher Christine Natale about Saint Lucy and Saint Stephen in Sweden here that I have used over the years.
Depending upon where you live, this could be a wonderful week to make ice lanterns or lanterns in general for winter walks when the sun is setting early and that beautiful winter sky is up and ready. We have plans to get a Christmas tree and make garland from oranges and popcorn for the tree and some orange pomanders, which smell so good!
My spiritual practice this week, outside of lighting our Advent Wreath daily and saying the prayers and readings of our religion, is to think about letting go. What can I let go? How can I simplify? What needs to be cut out of my life so new growth can occur? I am thinking and contemplating right now, so I can come up to Christmastide with some new intentions in mind.
Looking forward to week two of Advent!