As the season of advent approached this year I was determined yet again to move towards simplicity and a slowing down. The purpose of Advent before Christmas is as Lent is for Easter, a time of preparation, being still and even fasting. So different from our general experience. I wrote more about this last year. Advent 17 December 2018
During November our lives had reached a crescendo of busyness, not good for any of us. I know I’m not alone in longing for an occasional slower pace; time to read, time to go for long walks, time to pray, time to play a game with our children, time to watch a gymnastics move or a rugby manoeuvre, time to “stand and stare” at the beauty of creation.
So Advent seemed a good opportunity to make some counter cultural choices. We do a “Christmas reboot” most years; what is most important to us, what we could cut out, what we would like to include and how we are going to to do this. This year, we also talked about Sabbath; how each of us find rest and restoration and how we connect best with God. I hope we can continue this throughout the Advent season, as we seek to encourage each other to put our intentions into practice.
For my part, I’m going to have a different emphasis during my personal morning quiet times. I’m focusing on the advent themes of hope, joy, peace, love, and contemplating a few verses I’ve written out which dig deeper into these. I’m also listening to a carol or worship song each morning (you tube). I’ve found a couple of lovely versions of “O come, O come Emmanuel” a traditional advent hymn. I’m ensuring my normal morning cup of tea is extra piping hot, and spend longer just gazing at my lighted candle. Small changes, yet so far I’m already feeling the benefit of allowing God to restore my weary soul.
Helen and I recorded a podcast last week about home ed during advent, and I’m going to take her advice and exchange my usual week day rhythm for a new Advent one. I’m a bit of a box ticker, and think I have a tendency to be legalistic in completing the work I feel we “need” to do. Also, the girls need routines so I can’t just go into full on early holidays. Home education and adoption April 2019 .I’ve therefore come up with a compromise. We’re focusing on what the girls and I need most; long walks, for me, a cooking or creative activity for them and read aloud time for us all. Again, so far it’s been good and our home has been a more relaxed and peaceful one.
Thank you for reading this and sharing in my journey. I realise that it is near impossible for mums with small children to have an uninterrupted cup of tea, never mind to find space for quite and reflection. However, I pray that you might be able to find some ways to slow down, may be able to say some “no’s” and would give yourself permission to have some soul restoring time for yourself (bubble baths seem popular!). And I pray that all of us might be able to move towards reclaiming Advent for it’s true purpose.