Margin and Rest in Advent

Almost every woman experiences a nesting urge in the weeks leading up to her pregnancy.  The desire to get things organized and spruced up before the baby comes.  I’ve had all my babies at home, so I’ve done a fair amount of thinking and planning to welcome them.  Stacks of diapers, tiny clothes folded and waiting in the drawer, the freezer stocked with meals.

Advent is the time to nest.  It’s the time to get ready to welcome the baby that will be born.  If we build in time and space for margin and rest, we’ll be ready when the baby comes.

dec-10-112.jpgMeals Ahead

My plan for Black Friday is to make a few meals ahead from my favorite cookbooks, Not Your Mother’s Make Ahead and Freeze Cookbook and Fix, Freeze, and Feast.  A few hours of work will buy me peace on our busiest days.  Dinner will be mostly taken care of, and I can focus on other things.

Something by Hand

I don’t have any ambitious goals for a handmade Christmas, but I do know that the long evenings lend themselves to making things by hand.  We will be coloring our Jesse Tree Ornaments and saint days pages from Paper Dali.  This year Mabel and I are also making Jesse Tree Ornaments with felt.  We probably won’t have the set done by Christmas, but that just means we’ll happily still have work to do.

A Thick Novel

Reach for your book instead of your phone!  Let your kids see you enjoying a few minutes of personal, pleasure reading.  I love thick novels on these long nights because they just go and go!

Meditative Reading

For the past few years I’ve read A Child in Winter by Caryll Houselander.  Highly recommended.  This year I’m also looking at The Vigil: Keeping Watch in the Season of Christ’s Coming by Wendy Wright.  I’ve loved her companion book for Lent called The Rising.  She has a wonderful gift for translating lofty spiritual ideas into the lives of women and children.


4213245951_0923ef8a57_m.jpgThere will be the Advent wreath and The Way of Light Wreath, but we’ll be lighting candles extravagantly this month.  Over the kitchen sink, first thing in the morning as the house wakes up in the dark, last thing in the evening as we head to bed.  I’m stopping at Goodwill this weekend to stock up, but I might even splurge on some lovely beeswax candles too.  The scent and rich color are a balm.  Dawn is talking about ways to build cozy nests, and her ideas are always so lovely!

Give yourself the gift of a schedule that isn’t over full.  Save a little bit of space for that extra shopping trip or the party you didn’t expect.  Otherwise the extras that should be drawing us closer will weigh us down and make us more fragmented.

May these practices guide you through the year’s darkest days.  The light is coming!


  1. This is so true! We need to find the time to rest and enjoy the beauty of the season, without so much rushing around. Thanks so much for the reminder to relax and enjoy 🙂

  2. Excellent advice. I had my first truly restful Christmas last year and have made plans to do so again this year. The joy and peace completely redeemed the holidays for me as I had grown weary and the joy had left.

    1. Oh, sweet Mary, thank you for sharing your good work with the world. You’ve got lots of fans over at the Read-Aloud Revival! Happy Thanksgiving, dear one!

    1. Oh, Dawn! Thank you so for sharing so generously. I’ve just loved watching your boys grow through the years. Your book baskets and seasonal tables have been such an inspiration.

      On another note, did you happen to see an email I sent you about writing for Sarah Mackenzie’s emagazine? We’d so love to have you. <3

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