Taking Back Advent: Anticipation instead of simply Activity
In a blur of rituals and jam-packed schedules, it is easy to lose sight of the joy of Christmas. For most people, the stretch of time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is one mad rush of holiday activities. There are kids’ concerts to be attended, gifts to be purchased, then the trips to see family. All of these are wonderful things and we wouldn’t want to miss out on them, but it can also feel hectic and stressful at a time when you just want to be savoring the season.
This should be a season of anticipation – and what makes the anticipation so exciting is the waiting. It is interesting, because you can’t wait when you don’t even have time to think about what you are waiting for. I challenge you to find the time to anticipate Christmas. Now, this stillness is not something that spontaneously happens. You have to fight for it. You have to carve out ten minutes here, five minutes there, and be intentional about making time for reflection. Recapture the lost art of waiting in anticipation and Advent as a season of reflection! How?
Find time each day to spend with God.
Sometimes it is hard to be motivated to carve out this time when so much is going on. Try doing something new and fun with your quiet times, like using a coloring book to dwell on scripture or doing a guided advent-specific quiet time. (I am so passionate about how important this is that I have made a scripture coloring book and an Advent Prayer Journal, if you are looking for resources!)
Simplify to make it more special.
Look at what you are trying to do in the next four weeks. Is it all really necessary? Focus your energies on the things that really matter to you and your family. Do you need to put all those decorations up? Or would you savor them more if you put up fewer? Do you need to make five different kinds of cookies when one or two would do? Scaling back what you are doing can make you enjoy the things you have chosen to keep all the more.
When you’re fit your mind is sharper and your body has more energy to get through everything else. This is one of the great things about Body & Soul classes – you have other people expecting you to be there, which gives you motivation to get out the door to class, even on your busy days! Plus, keeping that body moving will make the extra eating over the holidays have a smaller impact on you- mind and body!
May you find moments of stillness and wonder, so that you can have an anticipation-filled Christmas season!
Becky Gilbert is Body & Soul’s Graphic Designer and an art blogger at JoyArtandDesign.com. She co-wrote 40 Days of Art and Literature and she is also the author of “Coloring God’s Word” and “Advent: Creative Exercises for a Season of Waiting – a Prayer Journal.”