This has been a very different sort of Advent. For the first time since 1986, I have no children in the house as we wind our way towards Christmas. The good news is that the house will be once again filled on Christmas Day. But that does not change the eerie quiet of the last few weeks. There was no discussion of who lights the Advent wreath or where the penguin ornaments should be hung or whose turn is it to mark the Advent calendar. Even one grown child living at home gives me more incentives to mark and observe the season well. My husband went out with no kids to help him and bought the tree. He put the lights on and I put the ornaments on. Just two old adults getting ready for Christmas.
This is not necessarily a bad thing. This is just a different thing. After decades of Advents with traditions geared towards keeping children focused on the true meaning of Christmas it is interesting to continue the motions and realize that I am doing this for my husband and myself now. The music, the decorations, the lighting of Advent candles, the Nativity scene, and the prayers have less of a catechetical mission and are more introspective.
I know there are single adults, couples without children, and other couples who have been doing the Advent without children for a while. This is just a transition for us that I didn't anticipate. I know we will figure it out and learn what is valuable for us to do and what is no longer relevant. In the meantime, I am just muddling through this Advent, wondering when my house got so quiet.