ZEIT DER FREUDIGEN ERWARTUNG ODER FASTENZEIT? A TIME OF JOYFUL ANTICIPATION OR A TIME FOR FASTING? ROBERT A. SELIG
Few of us will think of Advent, the three to four weeks before Christmas, as a time of fasting. In the minds of most Germans and of many Americans as well, Advent conjures up images of cinnamon stars and Glühwein, the hot spiced wine sold and consumed in large quantities at the many Christmas Markets in Germany and the United States. In stores we hear Christmas music starting soon after Labor Day, and by the time Thanksgiving comes around, we see more and more Christmas trees with blinking lights and Ho-ho-ho-ing Santa Clauses in shopping malls. As Christmas Eve approaches ever so slowly, or quickly, depending on your age, it is not only children who anxiously await the day when they can start opening the little doors of their advent calendars in anticipation of the treat that awaits them. Adults too have been looking for treats lately, though those more likely tend to be a slab of cheese, sausage, or tea, or a different kind of beer for each of the 24 days before Christmas rather than small pieces of chocolate (I am told there are grown-ups who love chocolate as well).