Sunday, December 1, 2013

Unpacking Advent

That's what we're working on today - hauling the boxes of "Christmas" stuff out of the attic (well, let's be honest, Russ did that part) and deciding what will come out today.  

I've been so tired lately that I'm lacking a little of the Advent zeal I've felt in the past.  (You know that part in the readings today, "Sleepers, Awake!"??  That was definitely directed at me.) Actually, this weariness I'm feeling helped me decide how our family would approach Advent this year...  with simplicity and peace.  I'm being realistic this year about what's meaningful for our family and what I will be able to follow through with.  This means we're not adding anything new this year.  It also means I am not going to bemoan the fact that we're not doing more.  I don't want to spend Advent regretting the many worthwhile activities we're not doing; rather I want to appreciate in a renewed way the things that we will do.  I am only committing to the "activities" that have yielded fruit for us in the past - the Advent wreath (candles, prayers, singing), the Jesse Tree, learning new carols, and cozying up with our lovely collection of Advent/Christmas picture books.  And my personal reading and prayer, of course.  

That's all I'm unpacking.  There are other traditions and preparations that I'd love to introduce to my children, but this is not the year.  I'm so grateful that I "got" that and am ok with it.  I am committed to a different approach to Advent this year - peace in what we practice (leaving the stress of fitting-it-all-in behind); contentment in being together and preparing for the season (using our free time together for making homemade gifts); joyful expectation as we prepare our hearts to celebrate the birth of the Savior (anticipating Christmas with peace and joy and not anxiety and stress).  

This year I want Advent to be more than the "stuff" we do.  I want my family to not only joyfully embrace the traditions and practices that we've decided on, but to also be blessed with peace and joy of Christ through them.  A big part of this will depend on my leaving behind an attitude of "we have to get this done and you will grow closer to Jesus from it.  Now."  But I think I am ready to leave that behind because I've truly been convicted that this Advent needs to be more about our hearts and peace-filled, joyful, grace-filled seeking and serving the Savior as a family, and less about how much we can pack into each day. 

So we're unpacking less in the hope of experiencing more.  Pray for us this Advent, as I certainly will for you.

* * * * * *

Here are links to my Advent posts from last year.  

Advent for our Family

Advent for Adults  (seasonal spiritual reading for grownups)


  1. Checking out your book pics:)

  2. Tired? Why? I mean, you're only like eight months pregnant with four young children, Theresa. C'MON, I want to see those candles hand dipped and expect dinner entrees (with recipes, please) that represent the daily Mass readings! ;) For real, I love this. You do such a beautiful job with all the traditions you do and your children are blessed. Thank you for sharing!


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