Opening the doors of the Advent calendars is a special part of the 24-day process. Built into the process is a basic time constraint: one day at a time.
I learned the process with my family, both as a child, and with my own new family as parents. There were things that needing doing, stories that needed telling, scripture that needed reading.
In the first years my parents led the exercise. We would set up the calendar in a central place. We would gather in front. On the first days my parents would open the door for day 1. One of us would read the message. We would read the scripture verse and share the story, and we then made plans to come back the next morning for the opening of the next day’s door.
Sometimes we would ask to see the next day early. My parents always denied the request, telling us the next day would come soon enough, to be patient! And we would wait.
And soon enough the next day, the next week came. We lighted a candle at the appropriate day, and the next week came, and the next.
As quick as that, it was the night before Christmas, and suddenly Advent was almost over,
And then... Christmas had come.
I suppose we celebrated more than twenty Advents across the years in this very way. After the children moved away, we left the Advent calendar tucked among Christmas decorations.
But... we never stop thinking as Christmas draws near, that Advent is coming again, when Christmas is here.