One Woman's Pre-Advent Checklist

Advent is a season for waking up to all the ways Christ comes to us.  Yes, the themes of Advent help us celebrate and commemorate his first coming in the Incarnation.  They encourage us to anticipate his second coming in glory - of course!  But there is also such a thing as the third coming of Christ; that is, all the ways in which Jesus comes to us now, bringing light for our darkness, peace for our turmoil, hope for our despair.

I don't know about you, but it takes some level of thought and planning for me to fully be present to the Advent season.  To still my heart, to calm my mind, to carve out substantial pockets of silence and solitude. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak when it comes to being a fully focused Christ wait-er, worshiper, adorer.

Like you, I'm craving that sacred light, yearning for His radiant peace, in need of a big portion of hope.

But honestly?  I realize that I can't be in that place of joyful expectancy without intentionally taking care of as much holiday busy-ness ahead of time as reasonably possible.

Over the years, I've learned this lesson the hard way, trying to cram far too much frenetic activity {much of it meaningless} into too short a space of time.

I've had to learn to weed through all the expectations {mostly self-imposed} and opportunities {most of which I didn't care about} to create a holiday rhythm that was meaningful to my soul even while getting things done that need to get done.

And let the ridiculous load of excess go undone.


The pre-Advent checklist?

Come early November, I can't wait to see the candles in the windows, lit and glowing bright in the gray of dusk, in the dark of night.

By the end of the month the tree is up and ready to roll, its quiet twinkling lights reminding me that yes, all is calm, all is bright.  The grandkiddos will be set free to decorate it any way they'd like when they arrive a few days before Christmas.


I've pestered my daughters for wish lists, to give me some fairly specific clues of what they'd like to see under the tree for themselves, for their men, and of course, the six kids.

And as they comply, I take full advantage of Amazon's free shipping, and whenever I reach that $49 minimum, I'm hitting that pale orange Place your order bar on the right side of the screen.  With a very thankful heart.

For I loathe crazed last minute shopping marathons and avoid them like the plague.


The house is doesn't exactly overflow with places to nestle lots of spare decorations, so I'm beginning to wonder just how to decorate the mantle ... maybe some old and shabby Santas perched on aged books, bindings edged in faded green?

My husband suggests a home for my grandma's fragile manger scene upstairs atop the oak bookcase, the one with the glass doors.  And I'm finagling a location in the living room for a big ol' ironstone bowl filled with my prized vintage glass ornaments.


I'm lining up December's calendar and sighing just a bit in relief as meetings and weekly groups are canceled.

This reluctant lazy cook is starting to figure out what meals to whip up for Christmas week, what goodies I might bake if the spirit moves.  My shopping list begins to gradually take shape, scrawled on the back of an abandoned envelope.


One more task accomplished, one more item checked off the to-do list, one less obligation to fulfill.  The big stuff, the must-dos are completed.  And sheer gratitude mixes with a warm anticipation as I begin to shift gears, slowly, subtly.  I catch myself smiling and sighing with a festive, yet peaceful relief as I putter away around this place we call home.

Come December's arrival, my soul wants to sing, 'oh come to my heart, Lord Jesus, there is room in my heart for Thee.'

And be able to joyfully share His outrageously generous love with whoever He brings across my path.

Let's talk holiday rhythms, Advent preparation, your victories, your near disasters ...

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