Could we let this be the guiding question this year?
Could we imagine the way we want to feel and then try to add in practices that will help make that feeling come to life? For me, I’d like this season to feel spacious, light-filled, and nourishing.
The first thing this will me for me is cleaning and clearing our physical spaces. There are clothes that have been out grown, the last of the cold season clothes that need to be washed and freshened, a growing collection of books and toys that are ready to be passed on. I’m fairly good at gathering the piles, but not so good at actually moving them out. I’m always surprised at how fresh and open things feel when I do.
I’ll also be turning again to the Apartment Therapy cleaning list. For the most part, doing a little every day (while keeping meals simple and laundry under control) is a way for me to see progress over time. It usually takes me 6 weeks to move through the 4 week list. But I just keep moving forward–there’s no behind and no catch up.
Finally, it’s so helpful to create a staging area if you have space. A place for wrapping presents, storing books that you’ll be reading, stashing presents. We’ve got a cold but enclosed sun porch where I can keep the big Christmas box near to hand but out of our living space. Maybe under your bed or in an unused closet?
With the time change, dark comes early this far North. We’ve got twinkle lights strung up in the dark dining room and in my tiny office. I might add a string in my bedroom to turn on just before bed. I haven’t had lights in there since my youngest was born in that room 5 years ago. Maybe it’s time.
They’ll be the lights on the tree and a house full of candles. We’ll also be lighting a new candle each week on the Advent Wreath and counting the days with the Way of Light wreath. (Would you believe that as I was looking up the wreath for you, the letter carrier knocked on the door with Ann Voskamp’s new pop up Advent book? It’s so lovely!) Watching the light actually grow stronger as we approach Christmas tunes our hearts and hones our attention.
The nourishment will start with simple meals–soup and bread, beans and rice, bones and broth. These meals don’t take a lot of hands-on prep work and usually there are plenty of leftovers.
Each day we’ll unwrapped a new story book for the season. All of Christmas books are kept with the decorations and tree stand. Then they are brought out one by one, wrapped in a reusable cloth bag. The unwrapping, greeting old friends, sharing stories year after year–this helps tame our acquisitive tendencies. Christmas is simple, but never a let down because we’ve been enjoying the entire season of Advent.
One way that we keep Advent each year is by coloring Jesse Tree ornaments. We listen to the old stories, talk about the connections. We linger over the stories because we’re all coloring together. The coloring slows down time and creates space for contemplation.
How do you want Advent to feel?
And from the archives…