When I think about experiencing Advent, one of my favorite things is sitting in our family room watching a roaring fire. In fact, whenever my mom asks what I want to do for the holidays, the experience of sitting around a fire is always at the top of my list. You may agree that fire can feel alive. It’s chaotic with crackling and popping, needing to be reignited, monitored or contained. I enjoy the challenge of starting and building the fire. Choosing logs that will catch, to then arrange them ascetically. Fire is so visceral. It touches all of the senses… especially when you make s’mores like I do. No need for the scented pine candles when you have the smell of burning oak. Seeing a room lit only with light from the fire and feeling the warmth that is emanated provides the coziest of feelings.
For me, fire symbolizes community, whether it be with family or friends. It’s a simplicity I always enjoy with others during advent. I always go on a winter camping trip where it is the pinnacle moment of the night. I equally appreciate it in this primitive context in addition to the usual at-home fireplace. During Christmastime my family often finds themselves sitting around our family room, chatting or watching movies, and the fire never goes out. With a drafty house, we periodically take turns getting close and warming ourselves. Right after we open presents on Christmas morning, we’re right back at the fireside. In fact, the main reason I look forward to colder weather is knowing we are going to get the fireplace going. Despite its controlled chaos, it is a steadfast point of comfort and security during the Advent season and very special to me.