Today we begin our first Jesse tree reflection.
Genesis (1:1 3-7 2:1-4)
"And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light."
This morning ice coated every surface. And the light reflected as written. The ground sparkled, nature decorated the first day of Advent.
This afternoon the birds gathered upon the branches and sang aloud. What a sound. They must have known, someone must have told them the child of the manger will be born soon.
And so we sing too.
Tonight we make our Christkindl.
Maria Von Trapp describes it thus:
Once more the mother appears with the bowl, which she passes around.
This time the pieces of paper contain the names of the members of the
family and are neatly rolled up, because the drawing has to be done in
great secrecy. The person whose name one has drawn is now in
one's special care. From this day until Christmas, one has to do
as many little favors for him or her as one can. One has to provide
at least one surprise every single day — but without ever being found
out. This creates a wonderful atmosphere of joyful suspense,
kindness, and thoughtfulness. Perhaps you will find that somebody
has made your bed or shined your shoes or has informed you,
in a disguised handwriting on a holy card, that "a rosary has been
said for you today" or a number of sacrifices have been offered up.
This new relationship is called "Christkindl" (Christ Child) in the old
country, where children believe that the Christmas tree and the
gifts under it are brought down by the Christ Child himself.
The beautiful thing about this particular custom is that the
relationship is a reciprocal one. The person whose name I
have drawn and who is under my care becomes for me the
helpless little Christ Child in the manger; and as I am performing
these many little acts of love and consideration for someone
in the family I am really doing them for the Infant of Bethlehem,
according to the word, "And he that shall receive one such
little child in my name, receiveth me." That is why this particular
person turns into "my Christkindl." At the same time I am the
"Christkindl" also for the one I am caring for because I want
to imitate the Holy Child and render all those little services
in the same spirit as He did in that small house of Nazareth,
when as a child He served His Mother and His foster father
with a similar love and devotion.
Many times throughout these weeks can be heard such
exclamations as, "I have a wonderful Christkindl this year!"
or, "Goodness, I forgot to do something for my Christkindl
and it is already suppertime!" It is a delightful custom,
which creates much of the true Christmas spirit and
ought to be spread far and wide.
Happy First Day of Advent!