Let everyone who is thirsty come
Let anyone who wishes take the water of life as a gift. –Revelation 22.17
It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Well, on the beach in late July celebrating my birthday is pretty wonderful too. But really? It’s hard to beat carols and twinkle lights and trees inside your house all to celebrate a baby being born!
This season also comes with a good bit of pressure to make things magical. But what if the magic and wonder are a part of the deal? It’s not something we can make or will to happen. What if the magic of Christmas is something to receive?
Lower Your Expectations
William Stafford says that if you’re writing and you get stuck, lower your expectations and keep going. Keep going. Everything in our culture tries to ratchet up our expectations. If you feel you aren’t measuring up, they can sell you something! But if the magic of the season isn’t dependent on us, things don’t have to be perfect to make a memory. Ma Ingalls says that enough is as good as a feast. What if your Advent celebrations were enough? What would it look like for you to lower your expectations in anticipation of receiving the gifts of the season?
Take Your Time
The world is full to bursting with beautiful, worthy, life-giving Advent practices. There’s Jesse Trees, saint days, Advent wreaths, and picture books everyday! But you can’t cram any of these into an already full day. Something has to go. Make room in the school schedule. Plan less than you think you need–good opportunities will present themselves! In our homeschool, we put our history and science spines on hold until the new year. It changes our routine and makes space for the extras that aren’t really extras. You have almost the entire month of December. Take it slow.
Even if you are lowering your expectations and taking your time, there’s still plenty to do to get ready! What if you took this coming week to do a little prep work? Clear out the library basket so there’s a place to put seasonal books. Double a meal or two this week. You can eat one, and stash the other in the freezer for a busy night later in the month. Declutter or spend 15 minutes each day working down the list from Apartment Therapy. You can’t do all these things–remember we’re taking our time and lowering our expectations! Take a deep breath, get quiet, and think about which one will make the most difference?
Look for a new series called Open Advent coming during each week of December. And in the meantime, a few favorites from the archives.