After all the activity of the past few days it will be good to stop for a day (once I have made the Christmas wreath to hang outside the door, and the Christmas ring of five candles to sit in the hearth!)
There's quite a bit still to do.
The first candle - once I have made the wreath! - is for HOPE.
We are hoping for the coming of Christ, the Messiah. I used to be fearful of the 'Second Coming', when 'Christ will come again in glory to judge the quick and the dead' (from the creed). I wondered if I would be quick enough to escape judgement.
Now I think of it differently; I live in the hope that I am accepted by Christ, but, as the hymn goes 'just as I am, without one plea, but that my Saviour died for me'. Not a 'fingers crossed' sort of hope, but a 'full assurance of faith' (part of prayer from the Communion service) hope.
I have turned back through all the pages of my prayer book to find the collect for the first Sunday in Advent;
It's a long collect; so full of phrases and clauses that it took me a while to get my head round it.
Copying it into next week's appointments page in my diary helps.
That way I have to go through slowly and carefully, a few words at a time.
Here's my take on it
In the run-up to Christmas, I pray for God's grace to help me turn my back on 'the works of darkness' - things which diminish me as a person, such as gossip, tetchiness, unkindness, for example - and embrace 'the works of light' - charity, kindness, thoughtfulness, for example.
And then, after Christmas, I pray that these good habits will be well enough established to survive into the New Year.