Saturday, November 26, 2011

it's the most wonderful time of the year...

i have a sad truth for you...last year we put up our christmas tree on christmas eve.

here's how we got away with that...
#1 - we were in the process of packing up to move the first week of january so actually unpacking christmas boxes made me cringe
#2 - our kids were little and therefore didn't ask questions when we were the only house without a candle in the window or a wreath on the door
#3 - we lived in the middle of the woods at the time...anyone who could see the front of our house was there for a reason so we avoided any judgement by folks driving by
#4 - because we were getting ready to move {and it was the middle of the holidays} i was slightly unstable and most people around me knew that decorating {and un-decorating} a house might send me over the edge

the amazing thing was...despite my came!  
it came for me {as unprepared as i was} just as surely as it came for the folks who spent weeks decking their halls.  lesson learned...
frantic christmas preparations don't equal true christmas celebration

having said that...there is something precious about preparing for the coming of our Savior.  but it's our hearts, not our houses that benefit most from this process.  
this coming...this arrival... this advent...

i've heard a lot of irritated complaints about all the christmas cheer coming out too early this year.  even though the yuletide decor has not yet been displayed in our own home i have to admit i love the spirit.  my heart is there.  i don't think allowing ourselves to get giddy with excitement over this most blessed of seasons is anything but wonderful.  as long as our spirit is one of joy and hopeful expectation i think christmas can be celebrated any day of the year {and probably should be!}

so here's what all this looks like for me this christmas season...
:: less presents and more presence {advent conspiracy style}
:: avoiding the 'mall madness' and overall over-consumption of the holidays by purchasing the few gifts we are giving at the GIFTS OF HOPE shopping event to benefit Mission of Hope {you are invited too!}
:: an intentional advent countdown with my family {including opportunities throughout the season to serve others, love one another, and plant seeds of truth about Christ's coming}
:: limiting our social calendar allowing for more 'white space' in which the Spirit can truly move in our hearts
:: setting aside one evening with my 'gratitude girls' - back porch.  eating.  drinking.  sharing. laughing. crying. embracing.  praying.  slowing down long enough to count the gifts of this season.

i'll have some fun and practical advent ideas coming your way next week.  in the meantime - be inspired...

{i love how advent conspiracy invites us to observe this advent you watch pay attention to the ways your heart is nudging you to enter the story this year}