Don’t you wish there were 7 of you some days? (Not all days, because most days I get on my own nerves) but, this time of year, I’d love it.
If there were 7 of me this Advent season, one of us would do all the pretty devotionals from all the amazing bloggers and ministries out there. One would have a pinnably good time with the children making all the glittery, gluey arts and crafts. (Because nothing says “Happy Birthday, Jesus” more than Advent projects that evoke cuss words in your heart.) Another could run point on creating the PERFECT hand-made neighbor/teacher gifts and SURELY someone could come up with some Christmas decorations for my house. That would leave three more of us for carpooling, holiday party attending, gift swapping and when all that’s done, certainly there would be someone leftover for quiet candle lighting and thoughtful meditation. Right?
While I want the quiet reflection and the candles and the beauty of the coming King, if I take an honest look at my priorities, it seems that more than the Messiah, I want to manufacture and experience all the warm fuzzies that the Advent season, as seen on Pintstagram, promises to bring.
I mean, my heart definitely wants Jesus this Christmas, but my inner life seems to say that I’ve made using all the right devotional tools, mugs, nativity scenes, planners, and children’s spiritual growth tools as the end, rather than means to the end. It’s like I am trying to consume Christmas in a way that has very little to do with actually celebrating Christ.
Who knew you could turn even the birth of the Savior into consumerism, legalism and idolatry?
I don’t want to consume Christmas in my attempt to pull off the perfect Advent for me and my kids, so that somehow I feel better about myself and my Christian parenting.
So, this December, I am choosing Advent-ing grace. Graceful, restful, peaceful Advent-ing. No striving, performing or perfectionism, but rather, GRACE. Care to join me?
Because, Advent-ing grace says, “I love you regardless of the fact that your heart is an idol-making factory–even making an idol out of experiencing Me.”
Advent-ing grace says, “I love you too much to let your legalism morph into license that swings the opposite way and says ‘screw Advent’ if you can’t do it perfectly.”
Advent-ing grace says, “Let’s celebrate My coming afresh, together. Because, yes, you can string the lights and make a few (cuss-free) crafts and read some heart-warming stories, but even better than that? If you’ll celebrate ME with me? You’ll get me.”
And that’s what I want. To celebrate Him WITH Him. No bells and whistles for the sake of bells and whistles. Just the long-awaited celebration of the expectant Messiah. Jesus, the baby King is coming. Let’s celebrate Him with Him as the means and the end.
And because it’s so helpful to share tips and ideas with each other, here are the ways we are enjoying a light, simple Advent this year.
We are using simple Advent calendars my parent’s sent us and reading a chapter of “The Biggest Story” by Kevin DeYoung (LAURA COLLINS DENLEY–YOU WON THIS BOOK!!) at breakfast–the length and language of this book are perfect for our short attention spans!!!
I love the tradition some friends of our do where they wrap books for the kids to unwrap each day of Advent, but currently #aintnobodygottimeforthat, so these are the library books we’ve tossed in our book basket this month:
- The Crippled Lamb
- Humphrey’s First Christmas
- The Perfect Christmas Pagaent
- The Tiny Star
- Mortimer’s Christmas Manger
- A Christmas Goodnight
- The Parable of the Pine Tree
- God Gave Us Christmas
- The Something Wonderful
- The Legend of the Christmas Tree
- The Very First Christmas
- An Invisible Thread
- Song of the Stars
- Merry Creature Christmas
- Santa’s Favorite Story
- Who Is Coming To Our House?
- The Joy Of Giving
- Christmas In The Manger
- Room For A Little One
- Why Do We Call It Christmas?
We are reading a chapter of “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” at night as a family. It’s sooo hilarious to read it 25 years later. AND I just found out there’s a movie of the book, so we will definitely be having a family movie night when we finish the book.
And maybe, if the energy is there we will sprinkle in a few stress-free activities…if it is a blessing…and if there are no cuss words in my heart…like, last night, we had students coming for supper, so we needed to make dessert anyway, so the kids and I baked candy cane cookies, (these were low-key, from a box and they looked like a red and white blob when they came out of the oven…and no one cared! Advent-ing Grace!!) While we mixed the ingredients we talked about how the whole world waited with anticipation for the Messiah, and then as we watched them bake we talked about how Christians are now awaiting the Second Coming of Jesus. Over dinner I did a quick Google search and had D read “The Legend of the Candy Cane.” The kids loved it and I didn’t lose my mind. Total Advent-ing Grace win.
How are you celebrating this Advent season with grace? Not to compare,#aintnobodygottimeforthat but encourage each other in graceful Advent-ing. Comment with your thoughts below for one entry, share on social media for 5 additional chances to win! I’ll mail one lucky commenter a copy of “The Biggest Story” by Kevin DeYoung by December 15th. Fallalalalala!
*Advent pics from Pinterest...follow along there if you'd like! Also, I HIGHLY recommend all the Advent tools I've linked to. I know the creators and adore their hearts for ministering to women through the Word of God. Click on these links, y'all. Comfort and Joy, Naptime Diaries, She Reads Truth, IfEquip, Truth In The Tinsel Lastly, sign up for our email list between now and Christmas to receive some "members only" goodies!