I’ve always loved Christmas. As a child I loved the sense of a special day, like a super Sunday, when all of my family was at home. We were all together all day. The day followed a familiar pattern; unwrapping stockings in my parents bed, with them looking slightly bleary eyed and us full of beans; roast dinner with all the trimmings; and an afternoon by the fire, with presents, games, and Christmas movies.
Christmas Day is still a very special day to me. Now with my own family, where we have kept some of the old traditions and added some of our own. What has changed though is an appreciation of Jesus. I became a Christian 12 years ago, and this changed Christmas for me completely. I want to feel most excited about the gift of Jesus, most filled up by God’s love for me, and most drawn into the mystery and story of Christ.
But I still live in the midst of a world that has more of a secular approach to Christmas. I still have long lists of cards to send, presents to buy, schedules to plan, and meals to prepare. This can easily fill my diary and mind in the whole of December. But it is in December that I really want to slow down, and contemplate the true Christmas story.
This thirst for a holy December, a holy Advent, that reaches a height on December 25th has led me to prepare for Christmas a little early. Last year for the first time I was ready for Christmas on November 30th. During December I was able to give all my attention and energies to Advent. It was very special; I was able to enter into a time of waiting, anticipating, and contemplating. I could anticipate and enjoy carol services, school nativities, and Christmas Fairs without always feeling that I was “behind” on Christmas.
This year I plan to do the same, and I’m inviting you to join me! If you would like to make Advent special this year; if you’d like to greet December 1 knowing that you have time to embrace all that the month holds for you; then please join me. You can sign up to follow my Advent preparation by email so that you don’t miss any posts.
I will be posting a couple of times each week between now and the end of November about what I’m doing to prepare. It will just be a few small jobs each week, nothing too time consuming. The idea is a steady preparation that gets us to Advent feeling calm, organised and expectant.
I would love to know if you’re along for the ride. Do leave a comment; and share with me what you find hardest about preparing for Christmas; and what you are hoping for this Advent.