This Little Light of Mine


Here’s the story of Christmas, chocolate, and Tic Tacs.

Can one be too old to enjoy a calendar of advent? Can one be too young to use the word ‘one’ without sounding like a tool? And what is that mystery stain that has suddenly appeared on my bedroom floor? These are the questions I’ve pondered this week. I do have an Advent Calendar. Father does too, and he’s 62. Mother doesn’t have one, though. She’s not really ‘in to’ chocolate. Which is highly unusual for a woman. What? Honestly, my mum is the only woman I’ve met that doesn’t love chocolate. My calendar has infuriated me. It only goes up to 24. I remember when they used to go up to 31. I even got one once, and this is true, that went up to 32. Nope, me neither…

I think it was meant to be for New Year’s Day but they got the numbering wrong. But technically, I shouldn’t complain because Advent is a Catholic tradition and that does stop on the 25th. Although Advent this year started in November, so if anything, I’ve been robbed out of a whole heap of chocolate. I couldn’t complain to the supermarket I got it from, though, could I? Or could I? I could claim religious discrimination…

“My religion invented Advent – this is a very special time of year for us, and we celebrate it with candles and chocolate. You have ruined my tradition by not giving me an additional chocolate as Advent actually started on November 30. I want additional chocolate! And some Tic Tacs…”

I suppose you could make your own Advent Calendar. Muslims spend a lot of time preparing for Ramadan. What do we Catholics do when it comes to our special times of the year? Find the nearest supermarket. ‘It’s Advent! Let’s celebrate with a trip to Tesco.’ It’s not that hard to make chocolate. But it’s easier to be lazy, isn’t it? Our most special time of the year is actually Easter, but I don’t think similar logic applies. I mean, they give us free Easter eggs at church after mass, so, technically, I didn’t actually go to the supermarket. The Monsignor did. It’s a very important distinction…

I suppose the point is that Advent Calendars are capitalising on the Christmas festivities. It’s meant to be a time of preparation for the coming of baby Jesus, who was actually born in January, but that’s not the point. Can one be too old for these chocolate treats? Or does it keep Advent at the forefront of our minds? Which is a good thing. It’s a tricky conundrum.

They have family masses at our church a lot this time of year. Heavily aimed at children with the two local schools taking centre stage and with a children’s choir, which is wonderful, especially when they cock up. What? You don’t want children thinking too much of themselves, do you? You’ll get their hopes up and there’s no point. Life’s terrible. They’ll learn that much quicker if you let them fail much younger. Can you tell I’m not a parent? I mean, how hard can it be to play a clarinet? She doesn’t even look bothered half the time, and that’s the point. Are those kids there because they attend a Catholic school or because they want to be there?

These masses are distilled. They focus on love, sharing, friendship, community, et al, and that’s a nice message to give children, especially at this time of the year. And where else are they gonna hear that? There’s something lovely about a couple hundred people singing ‘This Little Light of Mine’, organ blaring, everyone clapping loudly, with a massive group of children singing as loud as they can. In such a dark and miserable world, that is one shining light we must hold on to.

So is an Advent Calendar so childish? Nope. I don’t believe so. Yeah, they should make adult ones, and by that I mean fill the chocolate with alcohol, not have an image of a mucky woman spread eagle on it. Not that I would buy that, because it’s dehumanising to women. And chocolate. But mainly the first one. And maybe we should make chocolate instead, and have it when we want, including the 25th. And any time we’re feeling down, because it’s a great healer of wounds. Like ice cream but less cold. And depressing.

It’s nearly Christmas. And no matter what you believe in – whether you’re religious, atheist or agnostic – surely what Christmas stands for is something we can all get behind. It’s not about smashing through a store window at five in the morning and throwing fists at your fellow man in the pursuit of a bargain television that probably broke when you threw it at someone. It’s about celebrating the best of humankind. We might be nothing but a blue blip in an infinite ocean of darkness, but man, I think we’re the most precious thing in that sea. And because of that, we must never let the blackness that surrounds us overcome us.

Life is a voyage of discovery, after all.

And maybe one day I’ll discover what that mysterious stain is…

American actress, Katharine Hepburn (1907-2003), once said: “What you see before you, my friend, is the result of a lifetime of chocolate.”

Peace Out :|:

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this post. You can leave a comment and/or like this post below, or by clicking the title on the top of this post if you are on the archives page. Likes and follows greatly appreciated. Thanks.

Please feel free check out the latest posts from my other two blogs:

To Contrive & Jive
New Posts Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday
Click Here to Read the Latest Post

Hark Around the Words
New Posts Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday
Click Here to Read the Latest Post


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