Recently, a post about “Reclaiming Advent” caught my eye on one of the blogs I read. Not only that, but it got me thinking. For the past, oh I don’t know, forever, I’ve always found myself rushing through Advent. I looked up on December 24, shrugged my shoulders and said, ‘I guess we’ll do better next year.’
Don’t get me wrong, there were some moments of brilliance and lots of happy family memories made during those fast and furious four weeks. But, much of the time things became part of the “checklist.” Host an Open House, check. Send out Christmas cards, check. Adopt a child from the Tree of Giving at church, check. Decorate the house, check. And on and on.
Last year, in the craziness of Luke+Dell Childrens=4Ever, we were forced to slow down. And Advent became a whole new beast.
It’s funny, because one mention of Santa Claus and you get an auditorium full of raised hands on how to best celebrate and cherish him. Yes, I said cherish. You see, I was alot like the author above. I got really frustrated when I saw how commercialized Christmas was and I found myself being a wee bit snarky at even tiny provocations. Scoffing at the ridiculous price of Santa photos, but forgetting the looks on my kids faces when they saw him and chatted it up about their favorite toys. Sighing heavily at the long lines of shoppers. Completely perturbed at Christmas commercials on television. All of it and then some.
Then, we slowed down last year and Christmas became so much richer. Perhaps we were forced to focus on the blessings in our lives like never before.
Fast forward to this year and much of that has stuck with us. Yes, I still get my Christmas cards in the mail the day before Thanksgiving so they arrive the day after. It’s a family OCD thing. Truly, though, I LOVE writing them, and even more so, receiving them from friends and family.
When we hauled out the Christmas decorations this year, Anna-Laura beelined to my side and we had a blast putting them all up. She was so excited and it just made me happy to see her squeal at every new thing I pulled out of the box.
We even went to a bow and package wrapping demonstration at a local store this weekend. We had such a fantastic time. And, I found myself really enjoying wrapping presents, adding special touches as I thought about the intended gift recipient. What a beautiful way to approach gift giving.
As the kids took their photo with Santa, I loved seeing the kids interact with him (benefit of going the day before Thanksgiving – no lines!) My most favorite moment of the afternoon was hearing Will say, “And, my parents would really like a date together. So, if you could get them a PF Chang’s gift card, they would really like that.”
Today, we journeyed to Salado for our annual search-for-the-most-awesome-Christmas-Tree. We found it. In case you’re wondering, it took 44 minutes flat to find the perfect one. We were having a tough time choosing between two trees until Scott said, “You know, it’s like the Charlie Brown tree. Whichever one we choose will be perfect because it’s ours.” Well said, sweetheart, well said.
We have many things planned to bring home the Advent message to our children this year. We also have crossed lots of things off that list permanently in an effort to make room for the important stuff. I’ll do my best to share what we do each day – big and small – in hopes that you might be inspired to do things a little differently in your house. Advent is about preparation. We are preparing our hearts for the birth of Christ. Technically, Christmas doesn’t begin until December 25!
I’m excited about Advent. I hope you are, too.