A candle on an Advent wreathDecember 1 is the first day of what I call “secular advent,” which counts the twenty five days until Christmas.

The Catholic Church, however, doesn’t subsribe to such logical measurements of time. (Easter, for instance, is the first Sunday after the first full moon after the vernal equinox…) As such Catholic advent starts on the fourth Sunday before Christmas, which was a few days ago.

Growing up, we counted the days till Christmas both ways. For secular advent there was a fabric “calendar” with twenty five pockets and a chocolate in each, and for advent proper there was candle-lighting. There was a wreath on the kitchen table that had four candles: three purple and one pink. Starting on the fourth Sunday before Christmas, a new candle was lit each week. The pink candle, or “hope candle” was lit on the third of the four Sundays.

Button Soup Advent Calendar

Combining the jubilation of finding a chocolate in a felt pocket and the solemn observance of advent, I usually post on Button Soup every day from December 1 until Christmas. For these few weeks, every morning you can run down the stairs, still in your pajamas, and read something on Button Soup.