Living Advent Calendar

We’ve had a fabulous local initiative started up in three streets near us: a living Advent Calendar.

The idea is that every night from Dec 1st to 24th – a different house in these three adjoining streets reveals a window display around 6pm and invites their neighbours out on to their driveway to share in the fun and seasonal snacks.

I’ve been privileged to be an honorary member of this group this year as they had no volunteer for December 13th, I was delighted to step forward.

The local news story expresses the community impact fantastically well and shows some of the other windows so here’s the link: Rugby Observer

Here is our window which we did in honour of the 13th being St Lucy’s Day, (Santa Lucia in Scandinavian countries and Italy).

St Lucy was a young female martyr who died in the fiercest and most widespread of Early Church persecutions in 303-304 AD. The story that built up around her is that she  courageously took food to the frightened Christians hiding in the Catacombs in Rome, and she is portrayed with candles in her hair – but not for cosmetic effect. The candle headgear was to allow her to carry MORE food – she’s my kind of girl! In Sweden many young girls will have played the saints role in services to commemorate her on the 13th.

Brave, slightly crazy, Scandinavians: Health and Safely Nightmare! I have a hard enough time with the Christingle – let’s not do this here!

Yes, maybe her full story has been lost in time or elaborated but to honour the idea that FAITH produces HOPE often expregbin the form of FOOD – seemed like a great theme for our window (plus it was the suggestion of our Danish daughter-in-love).

As the local vicar, I did wonder if I would ‘get it in the neck’ for not mentioning Jesus in my window. I’ve been criticised before (sadly always by Christians) for not not being explicit enough about Jesus.

But as I stood on our driveway sharing conversation, mulled cider and seasonal snacks served out of our garage with a bunch of mostly complete strangers, but now new friends, you can’t tell me that Jesus wasn’t there.

We have more in common than that which divides us” said Jo Cox, (the young mum MP who was murdered by a far right extremist). The idea for this calendar event came about on a weekend street party in the same three streets, a street party inspired by the Jo Cox foundation. Three amazing young women took it forward, dropping leaflets to every household in September and following up with a knock on the door to explain and invite people to take part.

What I love about this is that it is SO inclusive: the diversity of displays says it all, it’s not about ‘getting over a message’ it’s only about creating community.  And the more we know and respect one another, the safer we will all be.  This event has helped new people make friends and given isolated elderly people a vital sense of connection to those around them.

Great job, everyone!


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