Sometimes I feel like the lone ranger among friends and acquaintances. We celebrate Advent. Before Christmas.
I dislike that Christmas comes earlier and earlier every year. That what should be a time of waiting and preparation for the King of Kings to come to us in a deeper way, is often a frantic time of spending too much money, fretting over the getting the perfect gift, and trying to get everything "done" before the 25th day of December arrives.
What we are waiting for and preparing for somehow gets very lost in the hustle and bustle of making sure no person is forgotten, or worse yet, disappointed.
By the same token, with the early arrival of Christmas in November, by the time the actual celebration gets here, we are so saturated in the sights and the sounds that we are ready for it to be over with for another year. The Christmas season goes on until January 12 in the church. But in the secular world, almost everything is said and done by the evening of December 25. When I was a child, it made me sad to see trees already out "on the street" on the way home from my grandparents' house on Christmas night. When was the last time you heard Christmas music on December 26?
I only have one Christmas tree, and it is not up yet. It will probably go up the weekend before Christmas. To be fair, this is not SOLELY because I want to give Advent its due first. This was the way my family did it years ago, and the way it evolved with hubby and I in our earlier years. We would wait until the live trees were "marked down" before getting one! Then there is the lack of space in my cozy household. And my cat thinks that climbing in the tree and knocking down the ornaments is some kind of kitty-Olympic sport. Those reasons are also part of the reason that the nativity set is not set up, either.
The activities highlighted in the video below are some of the ways that we will celebrate Advent. For several years, we have lit an advent wreath and had some kind of reading to go along with it. Not every night, but some nights. Hubby is never a willing participant, but the boys have played along - if for nothing more than a chance to light and blow out candles. And we will "prepare our hearts for Christmas" by going to confession at some point. Trying to fix up some of the things in our lives, so that Jesus feels welcome there when He comes. And with the rolls of cookie dough in the freezer section, there might even be some cookie baking this year.
Part of me still wishes, though, for a return to a simpler Christmas where we are focused on what we were REALLY given on that first Christmas many years ago. That was THE perfect Gift!