Ever since we started recognizing and actively participating in Advent, I have loved this time of year. Without Advent, I used to feel that Christmas just came and went, and some years I was left feeling indifferent and unchanged. Shouldn’t Christmas, as a follower of Christ, be more than that?
I have to admit that December came out of nowhere to me this year. I know it always comes after November, but on the eve of December 1st I stood in my kitchen shocked. Tomorrow would begin the season of Advent (if we are using the December 1-25 plan), and I have not even prepared anything!
It’s okay. This season of my life brings many of those shocked-in-my-kitchen moments because I am just not on top of things as much anymore. I have four small children now, homeschooling two of them, wanting to be an intentional wife and mother, involved in ministry outside the home a bit, too, pursuing local dance opportunities and patiently wading through the many ideas floating around in my mind all.the.time. So sometimes I remember something I need to do the night before I would like to do it. That’s how I roll these days. It’s just part of my life now. I’ve embraced it.
Thankfully I already had most of what I needed. So while sitting down to make a plan for Advent in our home this year, I began to well up with excitement. Flipping through the pages of our Advent devotionals and recalling the Scriptures that tell the story not only of Christmas, but of life, I wanted to worship the King of Kings and be very careful to not get weighed down with stuff this December.
When I look at my December calendar I already see lots going on. It is all fun, really, but Lord please help us to worship you throughout this whole season of Advent. Let me not get annoyed easily by things that really don’t matter. Help me to focus on You and not on myself. Help me help these little ones and my husband experience the joy of the Savior while listening to worshipful Christmas music. Let me take good care of myself, so I can care better for others.
There is so much to overwhelm me. I thought through decorations and Christmas presents and parties and preparations. I decided not to get all of the decorations out this year. We will instead be making our decorations a little at a time and using those as our decor. I want to keep it simple. My children love making decorations and being creative. I did pull out just a few things that didn’t require much time to set out and don’t require anything to be put away in order to be displayed. We also have a little tree that we will have up with Advent decorations from Ann Voskamp’s website. This should be fun!
And I do love Advent devotionals. Good ones. My favorites to go through myself are Pursuing the Christ: 31 Morning and Evening Prayers for Christmastime, by Jennifer Kennedy Dean and The Greatest Gift: Unwrapping the Full Love Story of Christmas by Ann Voskamp.
We also have some we love to go through as a family including The Christmas Story from the Family Reading Bible and a new one this year from Ann Voskamp called Unwrapping the Greatest Gift: A Family Celebration of Christmas.
Music is a big part of our family culture, so we also listen to a lot of worshipful Christmas music. I distinguish this music as worshipful because there is a lot of Christmas music out there, but not all of it is about Jesus, right? This week we have been playing Andrew Peterson’s Behold the Lamb of God and Hillsong’s We Have a Savior quite a bit, but there are other great albums, too.
Just today a good friend gave us a Frozen countdown to Christmas wall hanging, and she put little papers with Scripture in each day’s slot. That will be fun to go through, as well, and the children are already excited about moving the snowflake and reading the Scriptures each day as we draw nearer to the 25th.
What are you doing this Advent season to prepare and make room in your heart to worship and celebrate Jesus during His birthday celebration? It’s not too late…
“Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.” (Matthew 1:23 NKJV)