Advent and Anticipation by Erin Farwell

IMG_3021_1Advent is one of my favorite parts of the Christmas season. It’s not about the gifts, or food, or decorations, but the waiting and longing for something miraculous to enter my life. While I love Christmas morning and seeing my daughter’s and husband’s faces light up when they pour their stockings on the floor to see what Santa brought or unwrapping the perfect gift, each rip of paper and torn ribbon brings us closer to the end of the holiday. So as much as I enjoy our Christmas festivities, I relish the anticipation even more for it is a time when everything is still possible.IMG_0403

My favorite way to mark advent is with an advent calendar. Some people say they are only for children but I say bah humbug to that. I love advent calendars, though it might surprise those of you who have read past blogs to learn that the ones with the chocolates inside are not my calendar of choice. Don’t get me wrong – chocolate is a gift from the gods, but I prefer my advent IMG_0394calendars to tell me a story.

The traditional advent calendars from the Richard Sellmer Company in Germany are my absolute favorites. Made of thin cardboard printed with lovely winter scenes and adorned with glitter, the town, village, or woods sets the tone. The interior pictures are printed on velum so as you open the doors, the light shines through like a stained glass window. The panels you open are usually doors and windows of the shops and homes in the pictures, allowing you to peek into the lives of the townspeople as they prepare for Christmas. Santa usually shows up on the 6th, Saint Nicolas Day in Germany, and the 24th is always the nativity.IMG_0538

Each window I open tells a visual story of the people, places, and animals in the scenes. Sometimes there is a chimney sweep or a child waiting by the fireplace. A woman might be baking a cake or a choir practicing for Christmas Eve service. As the story unfolds I share in the preparations, at least in my heart.

With the craziness of pre-Christmas to-do lists and activities, my advent calendar helps me to find a bit of calm and experience the simple joy IMG_0557of anticipation. Whichever holiday you celebrate or honor during this time of year, I wish for you the opportunity to savor what is to come rather than rush headlong toward it.

I wish to you all a Happy Advent and Merry Christmas.

You can learn more about me at:

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16 thoughts on “Advent and Anticipation by Erin Farwell

  1. Lovely post, Erin! And I love the pictures from the calendars. I didn’t grow up with Advent calendars, but they are a wonderful tradition–a nice reminder that every day holds a gift.


  2. Such a nice post Erin. I didn’t know about Advent Calendars until I lived in Germany. They are a standard part of the Christmas celebration there and I’ve had some beautiful calendars. The tradition for me fell by the wayside when I couldn’t find the beautifully crafted calendars I was used to. I just went to the site link you included and these are the exact ones I bought in Germany. Thank you so much for steering me in the right direction – our home will definitely have an Advent calendar next year. I love them for all the reasons you mentioned. I think it gives you peace preceding Christmas and helps you feel the miracle that occurred when a baby was born. It helps you stay grounded, look upon others less fortunate and feel prompted to do something, even if it’s a smile. Have a Merry Christmas!


  3. Thanks, Linda! I love these calendars and have introduced them to several of my friends. I’ve now become a “supplier,” purchasing them in bulk and giving or selling them to others. 🙂 Merry, Merry Christmas.


  4. Advents calendars were not a part of my family tradition, but I can see how they are a way to stay connected to what the season means. I do believe I would enjoy the time out to stop and reconnect/ meditate on what the season means to others. Thank you for a very enjoyable post. Doris


  5. Wonderful and festive post, Erin! I’m not as familiar with Advent calendars as I am with Advent candles and I remember well my mother reading devotions each week as we lit candles in anticipation of Christmas, just like in church, but meaningful more personally done at home. I had wanted to do that in my home this year, as I have in years past, but the time slipped away, so I’m just reading devotions each week as I can and then relishing the candle-lighting at church. You speak to a lovely tradition and I hope you continue to share it with others. MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU AND YOUR FAMILY!


  6. Hey, Erin, loved your post, especially the part where you write: “Each window I open tells a visual story of the people, places, and animals in the scenes. Sometimes there is a chimney sweep or a child waiting by the fireplace. A woman might be baking a cake or a choir practicing for Christmas Eve service. As the story unfolds I share in the preparations, at least in my heart.” This reminds me of a similar effort… my Christmas card series where I tell a story about the people shown on the card’s cover. I hadn’t thought of it as an advent calendar, but in a way it is. As a kid in Rialto, California, an aunt in Ohio sent an advent calendar to us and I really enjoyed opening the doors and seeing each image. Merry Christmas, Erin.


  7. Very interesting post, and a reminder of something I hadn’t thought of or seen in years. Our church does the advent candles, but I am going to do some more research on the calendars. I too like the anticipation of something grand coming, in every part of life, which I why I put the most cream cheese on the last part of my bagel, and leave the most fun thing to do till last. Thanks for the great seasonal post. Neva


  8. I love those ones that you describe. I particularly used to buy them (instead of ones with chocolate) when my own girls were young. Great post, Erin.


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