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There is a space in my closet, a secret place I use to hide Christmas presents in the months leading up to the Christmas celebration. My husband knows it’s there but enjoys a surprise far too much to sneak a peek. My five-year-old daughter is beautifully oblivious to the fact that the assortment of boxes and bags might just contain the very items she so desperately asked for all year. If she knew, there would be no waiting, no enjoying the surprise, only a sincere desire to discover the Christmas gift as quickly as possible.
Advent feels like a little bit of both of those experiences to me. A time of expectant waiting, knowing fully the amazing gift God is about to deliver and yet, at the same time, a period of slowing down to savor the season. It’s an opportunity to set aside special moments to fully experience the joy and the miracle of Christmas, to focus on Christ’s birth in the midst of the chaos that covers our holiday to-do lists.
Starting four Sundays before Christmas, Advent in our family is a chance to carve out time to commemorate the coming of Christ into the world. It’s embracing a Psalm 46:10 lifestyle for a few weeks each year: “Be still and know I am God.” Be still. Wait. Savor. Gather. Invite.
That’s what the Christmas season should be about, isn’t it? Instead of sprinting toward Christmas morning, Advent invites us to breathe deeply and appreciate the anticipation of Christ’s birth. But how do we do it? How do you add just one more thing to our already overwhelmed and overbooked holiday schedules?
What we must realize is that it’s not about adding one “more” thing—Advent is about making space for the best thing, so our hearts have room for Jesus as Christmas arrives.
As a busy freelance mama, I’ve discovered the need to schedule a time to meet with God during the four weeks of Advent. Reading Ann Voskamp’s “Unwrapping the Greatest Gift,” Asheritah Ciuciu's "Unwrapping the Names of Jesus", or another Advent devotional reading is an uplifting way to start my day. Advent devotionals guide my heart, and in doing so, guide my family’s experiences as well.
Maybe this year you would consider joining me? I’ve learned that my family experiences the holidays and holy days based on my example—could that be something you would like to gift to your family this year?
Think about it—are you hurried, hustling, and harried? Or are you slowing down, focusing on God more than gifts, and asking Him to show you how to shine a light during the season? If you lean toward the first description (like I usually do at this time of year), what are some ways you—and your family—might benefit from a shift in focus over the next few weeks?
Inviting my family to slow down and celebrate Advent has been one of the biggest gifts of my life over the last few years. When we gather over Scripture, decorate the tree with a special ornament each day, or open the door to our traditional Advent calendar, we’re spending time together as a family. The Shepherd on the Search Advent activity set is the perfect way to introduce Advent traditions to even the youngest members of your family.
This Advent, may you celebrate with expectant hearts, savoring the season as we look forward with excitement to receiving the greatest gift God has ever given His children.
Want to read more on this topic? Take a look at these related articles:
How to Use an Advent Calendar
Discovering the Advent Season
6 Ways to Prepare for the Christmas Season
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Therefore encourage one another
and build each other up as you are already doing.
1 Thess 5:11 CSB