I know, I’m a little late right? Advent started last Sunday. . .
But we were traveling over Thanksgiving, had a wonderful time with family and I just got back home a few days ago so am way behind on preparing for Christmas this year.
I really want to be intentional about staying focused on the true meaning of the season but honestly I don’t even have our Advent calendarup yet :/
Here’s what I have been doing:
- Slowing down- Advent is a time of preparing and I’ve been channeling my inner Mary. She had a long journey to get to Bethlehem and really couldn’t speed things up if she wanted to. She must have had a lot of quiet time on the road to think long thoughts and wonder at where her obedience to God would lead her. Likewise, I don’t want to rush through these next couple of weeks. I want to have some time to really prepare my heart for the arrival of the savior.
- Checking my heart-Focusing on the true meaning of Christmas means truly staying focused on Christ; not on black Friday sales, finding the perfect family photo for cards, or getting stressed over finding perfect gifts. As soon as I feel like I’m starting to get up in all the craziness I take a mental time-out and pray for peace of mind, heart and spirit.
- Staying close to Jesus– There are many great advent books and devotional out there. This year I am reading Ann Voskamp’s The Greatest Gift and it is Beautiful! There’s a short reading and reflection for each day, followed by some questions to dig deeper. It’s perfect and totally manageable.
- Choosing Hope-Can I be completely honest? I’m struggling with some things; as I’m sure many of you are. Just because it’s the holidays doesn’t mean that our challenges and struggles all go away. Relationships are not all easy, pain is real, life can hurt. Yet, there’s is always hope. This:
Out of the stump of David’s family will grow a shoot — yes, a new Branch bearing fruit from the old root. Isaiah 11:1
A stump? Doesn’t sound super cute, right? I definitely have a few “stumps” in my own life. But God. . . He can take the smallest, ugliest, least likely root and create life from it. Hope.
Friends, how are you celebrating Advent this year? Would love to hear some of your traditions.
And if you’re looking for ideas for ways to celebrate Advent this year, I created a few boards on Pinterest with some great resources.