December is here, and with it, the beginning of the Christmas season and of Advent.
Christmas brings a lot of joy, but it also brings a long to-do list. On top of our normal school, work, cooking, cleaning, and errands, we’re now expected to go Christmas shopping, go to Christmas parties, decorate our houses, and bake all kinds of sweet treats. There’s nothing wrong with those things; in fact, there’s something very right about celebrating sweet Christmas traditions. The problem is when we participate in all this busyness for the wrong reasons; to project a certain image or to live up to unrealistic expectations, placed on us by others or ourselves. This year, I don’t want to let everything I need to do take the place of who Jesus is calling me to be. I want to make and take the time to slow down, savor the season, and remember the real reason we celebrate.
When I was growing up, we never really celebrated or even mentioned Advent. Sure, we had one of those mini Christmas trees you put a specific ornament on each day of December, but that was the extent of our Advent activities. Now that I’m an adult, I decided that this year I want to take part in the tradition and prepare my heart, not just my house and my shopping list, to appreciate and celebrate the meaning of Jesus’ coming. So I picked two different things to do to for Advent: I’m following along with the She Reads Truth Advent study and reading The Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp. The SRT reading plan, called Advent 2016: Christ was Born for This, started last Sunday and goes for 29 days. The Greatest Gift has daily readings that go from December 1st-25th, so I’ve only read a couple of days so far, but it looks like it will be really good. I have read Ann Voskamp’s blog, but this is her first book of hers I’ve read, and I’m looking forward to savoring it this Christmas season!
Do you do anything for Advent? What do you do to simplify and enjoy the Christmas season?