Have you ever put a lot of care into the gifts, the decorations and the food only to feel empty by Christmas evening? Every year people talk about how we can take back Christmas – and our sanity. A lot of these tips focus on lessening the impact of Christmas on our health and pocket book through moderation. For some Christians these efforts still miss the mark. I can stay away from the sweets table, eat my veggies, drink my water, respect my budget and still find myself empty on Christmas Eve. The Boxing Day mommy meltdown isn’t about what I did, but what I didn’t do. I never really understood Befana until I was a mother.
Distracted by the bounty of the holiday and the wish for perfection, it’s easy for even the most faithful Christian to miss the joyful announcement that Jesus is born!
During Advent we prepare and anticipate Christ’s arrival in the past and in the future. Advent is our opportunity to make sure that we don’t miss out on Christmas Day. We’re so distracted that we need four whole weeks of reminders to slow down and look for God in our lives.
We’ve been discovering the mystery of Christmas slowly over the last few years.
I used to covet the Christmas holiday as a private family time, but after a few years I realized that Christmas isn’t really a time to rest. It’s a time to celebrate the love of family and friends. So, my parents come to visit for Christmas dinner every year.
I used to spend weeks planning the holiday meals. I would spend a fortune at the grocery store stocking up for the holiday. Then I would spend a lot of time cooking fancy and unfamiliar food that nobody really liked. Now, I keep the sides and desserts simple. I buy a cook-from-frozen-turkey, and I’m never going back. I’ll use the extra time for some quiet reflection and prayer.
I’ve got a big tree that I don’t always set up. We’re using it this year! We’ll decorate it with simple, homemade ornaments over Advent.
I saw a lot of beautiful Advent centerpieces and I really wanted one. I did all the justifying. I’ve never had an Advent wreath. I should buy a nice one. It’s our first Christmas as a Christian family we need something nice for our daughter to light. Nope. It wasn’t in the budget. Our church is having an Advent wreath workshop and we’ll be there with bells on. I’m sure it will be a more meaningful experience anyway. It’s times like these that I’m thankful for our humble apartment that doesn’t really suit an expensive pewter ornament anyway.
I’m also excited that Advent is the beginning of a new year of scripture readings. I’m going to study them at home and keep up this year.