Hi folks! Today I have a treat - I got to sit down and talk to Rachel Telander, one of the contributors to Let Us Keep the Feast.
Me: Hi Rachel - it's so good to have you here today! You’re the author of the Advent chapter in "Let Us Keep the Feast", so I wanted to start by asking you: what’s your strongest Advent memory, good or bad?
Rachel: My strongest Advent memory...that's a tough one. It's not very specific, but I'd have to say it's that very first week in December, when we take down the dusty storage containers from the garage and start to put up all the Christmas decorations. Just thinking about it, I can smell the cinnamon mixed with pine and see the empty Nativity set, waiting for the Christ Child. It always captured the spirit of Advent for me, and really drove home the excitement Advent should have.
Me: Now that paints a picture! And it leads well into my next question: What do you think the heart of the Advent season is?
Rachel: The heart of Advent season is expectation. Every year at this time, we prepare for Christmas - the coming of Christ. Advent is the time we remember that sense of expectation and waiting. It's like that moment when we hold our breath before someone unveils a masterpiece - a breathless excitement as we wait for something incredible that is to come.
Me: That really resonates with me. It reminds me of my favorite part of your chapter, where you were talking about how we often skip over the important job of preparing for Christmas. You said:
“You wouldn’t throw a party without preparing the food and drinks; you wouldn’t visit a friend without getting ready. We are about to remember the most awe-inspiring thing that happened in the whole of history: God becoming man in the glory and mystery of the incarnation. We need to set aside time to prepare ourselves for this – internally and externally.”
I love how you put that – the way you juxtaposed this most magnificent event, the Incarnation, with a homely experience we’ve all had: preparing for the visit of a friend. It just really struck the meaning of Advent home to me.
And it’s about the writing of your chapter that I want to ask next: what surprised you most as you did your research into the season of Advent?
Rachel: Thank you! What surprised me the most as I researched was the symbolism that's infused into the simplest things, such as the Advent wreath. Before, I couldn't have told you about the symbolism of the colors or the shapes. Now I know there is so much more behind the simplicity - a depth that I hadn't seen before. And to me, that's intriguing.
Me: I love learning more about the symbolism of the church year! And you explain it all really well in your chapter. Okay, last question: which section of your chapter was the most fun to write?
Rachel: I enjoyed writing the Traditions section the most. I loved learning about all the different traditions that have been incorporated into this Church season - they really add life and bring out the best of the season.
Me: Thanks, Rachel! It’s been wonderful having you here today!