Monday, December 16, 2013

When I look up the word Advent, I find two definitions:
1. The liturgical period preceding Christmas, observed by many Christians as a season of prayer, fasting, and penitence.
2. The coming of Jesus at the Incarnation.

When I look at our lives during the period of Advent, it's barely recognizable. Prayer? Fasting? Penitence?

Instead, we've been living in a Christmas-related tornado of stress: a rehearsal or event nearly every night, an 80-hour work week for Shawn (leading up to our church's Christmas musical), hours of shopping, wrapping, shipping, sewing, stamping, budgeting, fretting. My intentions are always the same: to simplify Christmas. And somehow, it never happens. It's ironic that the month we celebrate God's coming is the least peaceful of the entire year.

I'm trying to give us some grace this year because it's our first year with Shawn on the music staff at a large church. That changes things, and how we spend our time isn't always ours to decide. But as a whole, I am desperate to simplify. I want Liam to grow up loving the Advent season because it's distinctly different at our house, and not because it's stuffed full of sugar and added stress. I pray that it's full of Jesus, the great news that He came for us, and His peace. Because the reality that He is Immanuel, God with us? It changes everything.


  1. Ever considered just not doing Christmas at all? After all, Jesus himself never asked us to do it and he has deliberately hidden from us the exact date of his coming into the world. We do not read of any of the church in the New Testament ever celebrating his birth like this and this is the pattern we should be following. I particularly struggle with the Santa Claus idea among Christian parents. How can I as a mother truly teach honesty in all things when I can lie about this fictitious man to my own children? Christian parents need to think very carefully about these things before carrying on the traditions that they have come to view as the norm. :-)

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