Rick grew up in the Baptist Church, so the Season of Advent was foreign to him. His family’s yearly observance of Christmas began whenever the Christmas toy catalogs arrived in the mail and the local shopping mall set out their decorations to start their pitch for the holiday spending spree. This started to change when he met Julie and began attending St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Westfield, New Jersey during college weekend visits with her family.
The church’s Advent wreath, and accompanying candles and readings, gave Rick a new perspective on the remembrance of the coming of Jesus, four or five weeks away. After church, Julie’s parents had a gathering around their own Advent wreath in the dining room of their house: artificial greens on a Styrofoam base, but with all the heart of a fresh version. They read the weekly readings and prayers, as they lit the appropriate candles. This became a happily- anticipated yearly tradition. When Rick and Julie moved to Cecil County this tradition continued at St. Mary Anne’s. Though they did not faithfully set up a wreath at home, they and Jonathan and Lauren looked forward to the lighting and readings at church and the accompanying hymns and choir anthems that began the preparation for Christmas Eve services and the start of the true Christmas season.
As the kids grew, they became acolytes and did their part each year with the lighting of the Advent wreath candles. Though they still find themselves pushed into the Christmas season before it is time, Rick and Julie enjoy the respite from the secular hustle and bustle provided by the Sundays of Advent!
Rick and Julie Waterhouse