28 November 2009

Keeping Advent ~ What's Missing?

Thanksgiving is over and Christmas begins, right? 
Wait! What about Advent?  

What is Advent?

  •  from Latin Adventus which means "coming": a season of preparation and anticipation of Jesus' coming...to the manger at His nativity, in the clouds at His returning, and into our hearts at this time

Perhaps the most important thing for me (a baptist girl with liturgical longings) in trying to keep Advent is making a conscious effort to postpone Christmas.  I must admit that when I first began doing Advent it was more as a way to prolong Christmas.  This shift from "doing" to "keeping" and from "prolonging" to "postponing" has been slow but significant.  I started out adding things to our late November/December season: a St. Nicholas Day celebration, an Advent calendar, an Advent wreath, but over the past couple of years my focus has changed.  I have begun to remove things from this time of year.  What things?

  • Christmas decorations ~ we wait to trim the tree until the 23rd (our wedding anniversary) or Christmas Eve (I would actually like to do it Christmas morning, but that is too weird for the rest of my family)

  • Christmas music ~ I have loved discovering the difference between Advent and Christmas music

  • Christmas Activities ~ not all of them, of course, but I have become much more deliberate and selective with how we spend our time both outside and inside of home

  • Christmas Shopping ~ nothing like crowds and commercialism to steal my peace; I am not a Scrooge, but I do try to give small, handmade or thrifted, and thoughtful

So, what have we gained in our giving up?  Much as during a fast from food, I find that I am able to direct my time and my energy toward God, meditating on His word and His love.  This putting-off rather than dragging-out of Christmas means that we are less likely to become weary of it all and thereby lose the meaning in the mania.

There is much more I would like to say, and I hope to do several additional Advent posts.  This is probably my favourite time of year!
  I will end with a new-to-me-this-year link: Rediscovering Advent.

Of Course, don't miss the rest of the Carnival!

Thank you, Kerry!


Anonymous said...

What great ways to keep Advent! I've tried to finish most of my Christmas shopping, glad I'm not the only one who hates the crowds!

Amy from http://ordinarysplendor.blogspot.com/

Lindsey said...

Thank you for sharing! It never occurred to me that it might be meaningful to postpone Christmas traditions throughout Advent - definitely something to think about! And thanks for sharing that link.

Lindsey @ http://readingredletters.com