Advent has completely and utterly snuck up on me this year. Maybe it was the unseasonably warm weather. Maybe it was being sick a good bit of November. I turned around, blinked, and it was the end of November. I’m not sure where the last few months went, but here we are, already in Advent. Needless to say, my halls have not been decked. In fact, I can’t even get to my Advent wreath or calendar, let alone the Christmas decorations, because my Halloween and Thanksgiving decorations are on the floor blocking my way to the closet.
Not only am I not physically ready for Advent and all that the Christmas season brings, I am definitely not spiritually ready. I always say “this year will be different.” This year I’m going to be better prepared so that I can actually enjoy the season and my family more. This year I’m going to have healthy spiritual habits during Advent so that I can focus on the real reason for the season. This year I’m going to be more joyful. And the list goes on.
Tomorrow is the MMPG annual Christmas meeting hosted by the mom of a Marist alumae. Her house is lovely, festive, and inviting. Year in, year out, she always graciously hosts all of the MMPG moms – current and past – with a warm smile and an open heart. It is her gift to the Marist community. I am hoping that our hostess, the speaker, and all the other moms will inspire me to finally embark on my Advent journey. I might be getting off to a late start this year, but better late than never.
One of my favorite blogs is “Blessed is She.” As a gift to myself this week, I am sharing a letter from the editor that echoes how I have felt in years past during the Advent season, and I hope that you consider taking on her call to action. I am going to try. And then I better hop on the Christmas train that has left the station without me!
Adapted from Jenna from http://www.blessedisshe.net
Every single Advent, I get caught up in the vicious cycle of buying presents, feeling frustrated that I’m not a Liturgically Amazing Catholic Woman, compare myself to what others have done or not done for the season and for Christmas.
And by the time Christmas comes around (hello! the birth of our Savior!), I am sucked dry. I am empty. I am frustrated that I didn’t get *all the things done* like I wanted to. Or my gifts aren’t thoughtful. Or I am not in a peaceful state AT ALL to celebrate this joyous and incredibly important day.
I almost come to a point of saying, “I hate Christmas and all the stress it adds to my life.”
But if I’m being honest, it’s not Christmas that I hate. Not even close.
I hate how I act during the incredibly important four weeks leading up to Christmas. I hate the Jenna that comes out and is irritable and frustrated and impatient and all the yucky things that we hate to admit we’re acting like.
Ultimately, I dive into every Advent with a chip on my shoulder — I think to myself, This season will be so awful.
But then I make myself stop humming and hawing, and I think:
He constantly offers me another way.
He constantly waits for me to wake up from my pity party of irritability and to see HIM.
He constantly beckons me, kindly, lovingly, with the fading trees and the quiet, dark nights.
It is peaceful outside, at night, in the winter. But it is far from peaceful in my heart.
It is peaceful in relationship with Him. But I am walking in with a chip on my shoulder.
Time to throw off that chip.
Time to dust off the dirt of despair and to soak up the peace of winter, the calm of the season that I so desperately need renewal in.
So, this Advent is the one. I am in a place in my life where I want to build a deeper relationship with our Lord. I have a desire for it, I yearn for it, I long for it.