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Paper Chain

166. Paper Chain

We are on the brink of Advent. Tomorrow will be the first Sunday of Advent and the two most important things for me to have ready are my Advent wreath. and my paper chain.

In the years my children were very small, we continually had questions about when is Christmas? how many days now? over and over and over again. So we made a paper chain—each one of us had our own chain. It was the simple strip of paper taped into a circle, and then the next strip of paper gets inserted into the first circle and taped into another circle—until you have a paper chain of how many days it is until Christmas. Each morning when you get up, you tear one link of the chain off and you can count again how many days it is until Christmas.

I partly used it to teach the children that Advent started each year on the fourth Sunday before Christmas, so it definitely wasn’t like the commercial Advent calendars that always start on December 1. This year Advent starts on December 2. But some years Advent starts on a Sunday in November.

Then I added another element to my chain. (I actually wrote about the three kinds of time in these postings on September 27.) On each strip of paper I put a circle, a straight line, and a dot. The circle was to remind me of circular time—the seasons, the clock, the moons. The straight line was to remind me of historical time—you start at one point and continue to another—born in 1933, and now it is 2012. The dot was to remind me of kairos time—that kind of time, those moments that you never want to miss—the time of fulfillment. I want to have those times during Advent (and all through my life).

So make a chain and prepare to wait—for that is one of the themes of Advent—waiting for new birth.

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