Advent Calendar

  1. Each day a door to be opened. We are to suddenly stop and wait in the doorway some moments before moving on.
  2. Chocolate. Dipping chorros into hot chocolate on a warm Spanish morning (or evening)!
  3. Religious buildings. Differently shaped boxes. Built to be doorways between our world and another. Maybe some are.
  4. The unexpected. An open face. A smile. Eyes that take you elsewhere. The gesture of a hand leading you on. A flying carpet of words. All these can change, can give a glimpse of something else.
  5. Or something someone says that strikes you dumb. That wakes you up.
    Something new you had not thought before.
  6. Chocolate. Rolos definitely tasted different when I was young.
  7. It is the time for raking leaves.
    Gold, yellow and brown brought together.
    Reddish tinges too.
    This day the sun breaks through bringing its light to all.
    Later we empty the barrows onto the roots of the Leylandii.
    The trees are still laden, more leaves will fall soon
    And we will have another day of clearing.
  8. I think I am supposed to be opening these boxes for some kind of religious reason. No one has told me what it is yet.
  9. It was in the 60’s, the early black and white, suited men, glib with smiles, guiding contestants through whatever game had to be played and there was one, larger than most, Michael was his name, who asked people to open a box or take the money and if you opened the box what was in there could be good, could be bad, you took your chance or you buckled out and took the money.
  10. And now we give children these calendars with 25 boxes and inside each box a piece of flat tasteless chocolate and they have to open them in order, one a day, starting at one then two etcetera until they finally reach the last piece of flat tasteless chocolate and on that wondrous day are also given other pieces of tasteless chocolate now shaped as Santa or wrapped in gold pretending to be money all of which is not good for their understanding or their health and especially damaging to their teeth.
  11. But what if you could do it out of order and just go for any number and it was not going to be a flat piece of tasteless chocolate (or maybe one or more could be) but something very good or very bad and not something you wanted but something you needed, especially for you?
  12. And what if – you need to be careful here, perhaps prepare yourself a bit, you could even fast – what if they became increasingly more unexpected and the last one was the most unexpected of all – something out of this world but now in it because you have opened the box?
  13. I need some more chorros now! Cold morning, hot chocolate, going down, warming up, tasting sublime. Shame about Toblerone!
  14. Come back to your body. Focus on your breathing, Expect nothing. Leave the world of self-satisfaction.
  15. He said that if you can watch all the thoughts that come to you, if you can get through them and not be taken away by them, then something might happen.
  16. Outside the rain, inside pain and tears. It is a wet day. Can the sun manage to break through?
  17. Here I am opening the box. My fingers pulling the silver paper away. It glistens as it tears, its crinkled surface like old skin. Something dark and brown starts to appear. Still untouched. Shall we leave it? Move away for a moment? Why not just wait, in this space? Pause. Why take the usual route? Return later. Stay in the space. Stay with the question.
  18. Have you noticed how nearing Christmas
    Driving becomes more dangerous?
    How we open these metal boxes
    Without due care
    And drive madly chasing the last present?
  19. The winds have come, chasing away the last leaves,
    Until all is bare.
    We need to lose everything before we can rise again.
    The ancients knew this.
    They met and partied at midwinter.
    It was one way of keeping warm.
    The name they gave it has gone, as have they, as will we.
  20. The bastards are now giving us fewer Maltesers in their packets.
    They say we have had enough fun and that the packets need to be
    lighter, presumably to give them a better chance to float away in the
    final deluge. The Maltesers that is not the bastards; they have already secured
    their mountain tops from which they can watch the rest of us
    flail and drown.
  21. This is an important box.
    It is empty. Empty because it is a box I need to walk into.
    A kind of confessional box but with no other person in.
    Large enough to lie flat in face downwards.
    There to be wholly seen and wholly known
    For who and what I am.
    There to be emptied of all that has missed and is missing the mark.
    Emptied with nothing redeeming left.
    I need to return here, often.
  22. Ippy dippy plydee woo,
    Kneegar wooshy flambee goo.
    Flynee huf.
  23. The skies are clearing, deeds are done We are approaching the last box.
    There is little else we can do. Just wait. I used to get so excited by
    Christmas when I was younger. Was it all just about what I would
    receive, or was there something else?
  24. Can you get drunk on liqueur chocolates?
  25. This is the final day, the last opening.
    We have wandered until now.
    It is the day for new clothes and greetings, for the family walk
    and the unexpected guest.
    A time for song, for hymns in the cold and maybe snow,
    A time for reflection in the quiet.
    Why have we come this way?
    What is there still to do?
    Who is this person I call myself?
    Such questions do not need answers,
    They just need to be asked, need to hover
    Like a blessing, like baraka.
    We shall immerse ourselves in this day.
    Today we live, tomorrow we can give.

Anthony Smith December 2016