Advent is the festival before Christmas that is all about preparation. It begins on the nearest Sunday to St Andrew’s Day (30 November) and ends on Christmas Eve. This year Advent begins on Sunday 27 November and has four Sundays up to Christmas when, traditionally, churches will light a candle on an Advent Crown, with the final candle lit on Christmas morning. Since the mid-19th century, it has been celebrated, first in Germany with chalk marks on doors or with lit candles, and then later with the Advent calendars we all know so well, and allows for a counting of the days until the celebrations of Christmas Day itself.
With our term ending on Friday 16 December, Christmas at Pilgrims starts early: there are decorations to make and hang, nativity plays to organise and rehearse and carol concerts to invite our parents to. So preparations are already underway by the beginning of November!
As we begin thinking about our Christmas celebrations, we are also preparing the children to use a range of skills, and to perhaps challenge themselves in different ways. Performance can be daunting for anyone, and as our children get older, they become more aware that Mummy, Daddy and maybe Grandparents will be watching them. At two years of age your little stars are often very comfortable whirling, twirling and singing on stage with their friends. By five and six, children may have lines to learn and this can provide both challenge and great enjoyment for the children, as they perform in front of family. It is these small steps that each child takes; these little, yet significant achievements they feel proud of, and that help the children prepare for much greater challenges and much larger steps as they get older. Understanding that accepting new challenges helps them to grow, prepares our children for life beyond our doors, and this growth mind-set is what helps our children progress and reach their full potential.
As we look towards lighting our Advent candles or think about opening our Advent calendars and start our own preparations for Christmas Day, let’s remember that the preparation for the event is as important as the event itself. The journey is as important as the destination; and that is a philosophy we most certainly embrace at Pilgrims.
We hope you enjoy preparing for your own Christmas, and, of course, the day itself.