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on embracing advent when your arms are already quite full

It’s Advent again, that magical time of year when we scour pinterest and make lists and vow that this will be the year when do the season (and our expectations) justice. 

It’s Advent again, which means let’s declutter the house and pull out decorations and make it meaningful yet simple yet age appropriate yet not obnoxious. And amazing. Don’t forget to make it amazing. 

It’s Advent again, which means Christmas shopping is sneaking up on you so start your planning but don’t spend too much but don’t get caught at the last minute but don’t obsess. 

It’s Advent again, that time of year when something in you wants to slow down and light candles and wait and anticipate the coming of Christ but for some reason there’s more parties and gatherings and too many good reasons not to slow down. 

It’s Advent. So rest. As you accomplish more. So that it can be more meaningful. Which you can think about as you drive to things.

Maybe some of these realities resound with you as you turn your sights toward the Christmas season. I sat at church on Sunday and was struck by the thought of anticipation, of waiting for God to come to us, and how that waiting seems to be lost in a season of flurry.

Please know- I’m not saying down with decorating, down with parties, down with Christmasy stuff. It’s not about any of that. The question I’m wrestling with is what does it really mean to cultivate a quiet pause in our family life for us to truly wait, to listen, to lean towards the coming of Jesus so that we can celebrate from way down deep?

How do I help my kids find meaning in the phrase, “God with us”?

How do I push the “holiday stuff” back, not excluding it from my life, but keeping it in its proper place?

How do I raise kids that love Jesus, that love Him so wholly that the story of His coming is sweet to them?

And how do I add anything, anything at all, to this crazy rhythm of my life when it feels like I’m barely making any of this happen? When I’m like a juggler that watches pins tumble to ground? When I feel that if my arms are so full, where is the room to embrace the meaning of this sacred season? 

I don’t need more to do; none of us do. But I think I do need more of a few things: more quiet, more space to think about the bold step of Christ becoming man, more time to tell the old old story to my kids, more silence to contemplate what that coming means to me as a follower. 

And in order to have more of those things, I need less of others: less distractions, less input from voices and sources that don’t matter to me, less time wasted, less worry about what it all looks like, less second guessing if I’ll get it right. 

I want to wait, to tap my foot in impatience, to check the clock constantly, to feel the celebration of Christ’s birth as if it is happening in real time. I want to acknowledge the bigness of it, to embrace the smallness of my own life, to ponder what the crossroads of those two realities could mean. 

I want to be less like the church girl who’s heard the story a million times, “Yep, Christ came.” And I want to be more like this…

He came! He’s here!

So Advent, the season of holy anticipation, is upon us. Let’s wait. Let’s savor. Let’s ditch the things that cause empty busyness and make space for things that are life-giving and truth telling. Let’s renew our hearts to hear, and to wait, and to deeply, deeply celebrate.  

0 thoughts on “on embracing advent when your arms are already quite full”

  1. Thanks for this reminder, Becky. Beautifully said.

    We made an advent calendar this year, again. But this year, most days are full of story telling. Fleshing out the story that evidently our kids don't know as well as I'd hoped! (BTW – I loved your description of Mediator, yesterday.) Also more singing. Here's to slowing down the hurry a bit, and finding space to remember the beauty of incarnation.

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