An Advent Adjustment (Peace)

In seasons past, we were still eating turkey leftovers when I would hit the ground running with Christmas. Away went the autumn and Thanksgiving decorations and out would come boxes and boxes of Christmas "stuff." I would have the house and tree decorated in two days. Then onto all the other Christmas projects I assigned myself. Little thought was given to Advent—the four weeks of waiting with anticipation the coming of the Christ Child. My Savior.

Don't get me wrong, I still love my Christmas decorations and the memories that are unpacked with them, but this year I'm going to slow down and make an Advent adjustment. I want to experience the hope, peace, joy and love of the season instead of collapsing on the couch Christmas night relieved it's over so I can relax.

One of my regrets as I look back on Christmas' past is lack of balance between my to-do list and my family. I said "yes" to holiday projects on other people's agendas, set unrealistic expectations for myself and tried to keep the house clean and tidy (with two growing boys) in case someone stopped by. I wore myself out with too many Christmas commitments that didn't matter or could be done by someone else. Irritable and tired I short-changed my family and myself.

I don't get an Advent "do over" but I can make some changes so I enjoy the anticipation of the celebration of Jesus' birth and have fewer Christmas regrets. 

I need to:
  • Pace myself and spread projects and activities out over time to reserve space for God, others and myself. Create a peaceful atmosphere in my home.
  • Say "no" more often and with less guilt. This is easier said than done, so practice. If I choose to say "yes," there will be less room for something else. Make sure my "yes" is worth it.
  • Allow extra time to do things and get places. Take some of the rush out of Christmas. Keep a Christmas CD or magazine in the car in case I'm early.
  • Take the twenty-four days of Advent one at a time. Go slow and savor them. Jettison the things that don't have to be done, delegate, shop simply and not worry about getting everything done perfectly (or at all).
I want to live today and cherish within me what God puts before me on the path that leads to the stable and our newborn King. 
Of course I'll decorate, bake, shop and sing carols but I'm going to ease up the pace and experience the promise of Christmas. I want the arrival of Baby Jesus to be felt in our home. On the evening of the twenty-fifth I want to look back on a simple journey to the manger instead of feeling like I've survived a marathon.
I'm looking forward to entering into my Advent adjustment. Care to join me?
Teach us to number our days and recognize how few they are;
help us to spend them as we should.
Psalm 90:12 TLB
(Adapted from the Peace chapter in Fruit Flies in Our Faith: Nurturing and Sharing the Fruit of the Spirit.
 

2 comments

  • You have encouraged me to also make an “Advent adjustment.” Thank you. XO

    Alice
  • I will be checking in with you to see how you are doing.

    nancy

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