Hello December, you stealthy, surreptitious month, you! Every year without fail, you coyly hint at your upcoming arrival as soon as the temperature plummets; yet your entrance always manages to catch us by surprise. December, you certainly induce a racing heart— to-do lists galore, baking to be prepared, gifts to be bought, cards to be written, parties to attend, gatherings to host, carols to be sung, concerts to sit through, services to go to, exercise to counter the overconsumption of food (!), snowballs to throw, stockings to fill, and a partridge in a pear tree. (Never really did understand that one.) Welcome, December.
In spite of our consumerist culture, Advent is not about the calendars (and that’s coming from a chocoholic!) Side note—apparently, all adults deserve Advent calendars, too, and one can purchase beer or Scotch whiskey advent calendars. Who knew? There is, in fact, so much more than the countdown calendars to gift opening and the over indulgence of food. It’s that glorious “time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas”, as Wikipedia puts it. It encourages us to focus rather than frenzy. We remember WHY we celebrate this season…
ENJOY the anticipation—is that even possible when we are running around like headless chickens waving our to-do lists in our stubby little wings? It’s most definitely possible, but for most of us (umm, ME) it is something we have to be intentional about. My “word for the year” was PRESENT. I really wanted to be present in every area of my life, living in the moment and not fretting about the future or hankering after the past. I’m going to attempt to live that word out in this final month of the year… to actually make the effort to enjoy the special moments, crazy and calm, as I anticipate Christmas and what that truly means to me.
ENJOY the adventure. An ADVENTURE is “an unusual and exciting or daring experience”, according to the Oxford dictionary, and let’s be honest, that can be our run-up to Christmas. We stretch our time, money, and sanity way further in this season than any other time during the year. Suddenly, we are domestic goddesses with magical culinary skills, Martha Stewart-esque home décor experts, and pro gift-givers with remarkable mind-reading abilities. Who is putting this ridiculous amount of pressure on our weary shoulders? Yeah, probably us. Take-out pizza, a few twinkly lights, and cold hard cash would probably suffice for my guys!
I think we do these above-and-beyond crazy things in the pre-Christmas period because we secretly enjoy it. Most of it, at least. There’s a certain challenge to this Advent adventure. It IS exciting and unusual and even daring, but my goodness, it’s easy for us to lose sight of Jesus in the flurry of it all, isn’t it?
ENJOY advent. Yeah, so maybe we should shed our Wonder Woman cape and carve out some real advent time in the lead-up to Christmas. It’s such a rich, beautiful time to sink our roots into the reality of God’s greatest gift to us—sending His son, Jesus into this world. Marvel in that for a moment.
There are some wonderful books and studies to help us focus on the Advent season and remind us of the deep truths therein. This year, I’ve loved She Reads Truth, which takes you through all manner of Bible studies in daily devotions. I decided to try their Advent devotional series “BORN IS THE KING”, and couldn’t resist buying the accompanying book—it literally just arrived at my front door, and it is GORGEOUS. Packed with stunning photos, delicious recipes, classic carols, and chunks of Scripture leading up to the birth of Christ. (Have to go and start reading it now… sorry!)
Tis the season of adventure, anticipation, and adoration of Jesus. Join me?
Take a breath and enjoy the ADVENT-URE!
Linking up with some fabulous encouragers! Check them out: