Today a friend and I had the beginnings of what I hope will become a longer discussion of the celebration of Advent. We are both hoping to bring more to our families this Advent. For both of us, as Christians, we are thinking specifically about the spiritual elements of anticipation -- both for the historic arrival of Christ and for His anticipated return. Neither of us wants to introduce more in terms of doing more, buying more, giving more, hurrying more. Rather we are hoping that the "more" we can offer will be ultimately more nourishing to our families' souls.
We will continue with our usual traditions, but I'm thinking ahead to some additional things we can do. I fully intend to incorporate a Jesse Tree this year, something I've wanted to do the last couple of years but I've been a bit stymied on the project because I had something so specific in mind for the ornaments, something I don't really have the ability to create on my own. I struck a compromise with myself this year, something I think should be doable. I also want to do more with the O Antiphons than we have been.
I have other things I want to say about this but my thoughts are still a little jumbled. Hopefully after a few more clarifying conversations, I can formulate my thoughts about it into something a little more coherant.
I'm already looking forward to beginning our old traditions afresh in our new home. We will be observing our countdown Advent calendar as usual. My original posts about that are here and here. A couple of years ago, I made a PDF of the little schedule I put together so you could get an idea of how it actually plays out in our family, and that can be found here. I also urge you to read this post, written last year. It says so much of what I'd like to say again, this year. If we could only all sit around my kitchen table with a warm drink and really talk about these things that we all cherish: traditions, families, faith, the ways we celebrate what matters to us, simplifying. As much as I do love the medium of a blog, sometimes I hate that it can come across a bit like screaming "Do this! Make that! Be more! Be better!" when really we all just need to reach out and encourage each other and know that what matters is just being. Being present with our families, embracing traditions that enrich our celebrations, and letting go of all the rest.
I'm hoping for the same for all of you, whatever your path this December.
(PS: The photo above was the single Advent-y photo on my computer that had not previously been seen on this blog. We still have no cord to access anything on our external harddrive! It's kind of weird not to have access to any of my old photos.)