Monday, December 5, 2011

A Simple Advent (and letting go)

Do you celebrate Advent?

Our church leads us through each Sunday of Advent very purposefully, and even provides a booklet of scripture readings and devotionals to work through during the week as we light a candle.  This year, that devotional focuses on the names of God from Isaiah 9:6.

Wonderful Counselor
Mighty God
Everlasting Father
Prince of Peace

In our family, we light a candle and do the devotional at the dinner hour.  That's the one time during our busy days when we can usually count on being together.

Through the years, we've had a couple different candle arrangements.  For a few years, I had a wreath of artificial greens.  Within it were spots for candles.  It was big.  Cumbersome, even.  I don't know about your house, but at our house, flat surfaces are at a premium, and it was always so awkward to find a good spot for this advent wreath.  Oh, it was usually on the kitchen table -- but in the way.

Then, I found something simpler.  A beautiful metal "wreath" -- much smaller, and again it had spots for candles (and even came with candles).  I loved the look, and the first year I really liked it.  The second year, though, I couldn't find candles to fit.  The new candles leaned and dripped, and made a mess -- all over the table or anything on which I placed the wreath.  I made all kinds of attempts to put things under the candles and the wreath itself , but this was awkward, and messy -- and became cumbersome as well.

My husband would say, "Let's get ready for Advent" and I would dread pulling out the necessary supplies.


Really?  I don't think those were supposed to be my thoughts concerning Advent.

Here's the thing.  Traditionally, advent is about expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of The Season.  And I was doing it all wrong. I was putting way too much focus on the "STUFF."

The other day, I received a sweet e-mail from a friend, in which she said, "I think women in their 30s really struggle with trying to do it all"  - and I think she's right.  [Not that I am in my 30's -- I cannot tell a lie.]  Her comment was in response to mine on her blog, where I said this:

"Lots of things have changed around here in recent years, and I have learned to LOWER my expectations.  That sounds terrible — but you know what I mean.  I realized that I “did” Christmas cards because everyone else expected me to — which wasn’t a good use of my time.  If I’m in the mood, I’ll send some. Otherwise, I’ve learned that just because it’s everybody else’s “thing”, it doesn’t have to be mine.

   I’ve learned to go with the flow more around here, and overall, I’d have to say that puts fewer expectations on my family as well as myself.  With less “extra” stuff to do, we can relax and enjoy the Christmas Season, and remember it’s TRUE REASON."

I think it took reaching a certain level of maturity(?) shall we say... to let go of some things. And letting go allowed me to be IN the season rather that outside looking in and wondering what needed to be DONE next.
This year, you can see we have a MUCH SIMPLER Advent solution.  A glass candle holder of white tealights on a felt snowflake.  Simple.  Beautiful (to us).  And -- easy enough to relocate when the table is full.

Is there something that you need to give up
this Christmas Season?
Give yourself "permission" --
so that you can give your full attention to


  1. It's hard to give anything up during the holidays - traditions are just so, well, traditional! Still praying about my schedule and taking it one day at a time. Trying not to worry about things - the sun will come up tomorrow even if they don't get done. Right?!

  2. Amen i love your post Sally! Found you over at Joy N Jesus and decided to come check your blog! Just started following :)

  3. so good....and such a good reminder to stop and remember the Reason. :)


Thanks so much for taking the time to comment! I read each and every one, and truly enjoy "conversations" with you! ~Sally

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