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.
- 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).