Thought for the Week- The meaning of Advent calendars

Those of you with Advent calendars, will have already opened at least the first five of their twenty four doors.

While the main picture on Advent calendars can feature pop groups or TV characters these days, when I was a child the calendars I was given, always featured a Nativity scene on them.

As I opened each of the doors in sequence, I generally found a picture of a different toy behind each one. However when I opened the twenty fourth one, it showed another religious picture. Nowadays I know that many of the more popular calendars have a small piece of chocolate behind each of their doors. I think that perhaps these calendars need their owners to exercise great willpower, in order to only open the right numbered door each day! While it is said that the first Advent calendars originated in Germany in the nineteenth century, it is often believed that it was Gerhard Lang in the twentieth century who was the originator of the kind of Advent calendar we have today. But what are they for?

As a child I was often told not to ‘wish my life away’ if I was too eager for an important date– such as Christmas - to arrive. So are these calendars there partly to remind us that each day leading up to Christmas can be special too, if we are only prepared to see it. Also there are many different doors on a traditional Advent calendar – just as there are many different things to enjoy about Christmas.

The bigger picture to be found on traditional religious Advent calendars remind us that we are only able to enjoy this festival because of God’s great love for us, which He demonstrated by His gift to us, on that very first Christmas.