I have been running around with a death grip on my trusty excel Christmas gift spreadsheet that has many rows of names and many columns. I even wrote a key for it so I know if it's an idea, if I know where to get it, if I actually bought / ordered etc and if I am done!
It sounds so much more organised than it is.....sigh.
I have the whole thing almost completed. All the gifts are arrayed on the dining room table with sticky notes on them. The overseas gifts are wrapped and the padded envelopes ready to be mailed.
It sure helps that we are not buying gifts for the kids or my parents. We have chosen to do things together in Hawaii rather than buy each other gifts. We are doing stockings which are fun to gather stuff for.
And then there is all the preparation for the Hawaii trip.....I just remembered today to get water shoes....ACK...and I am still in denial that I might need a swimsuit - the old one was 22 lbs and 24 inches ago .......blech....swimsuit shopping is the worst.
And then there is all the end of year things, dinners, events, band concerts, Allan has a huge robotics competition at his school that he is running, 2 more Junior Youth events (one the night before we leave)......yadda yadda yadda.
And Advent started on November 27th.......
All the stuff above is NOT advent. We mistake it for advent, we mistake advent for sugar cookies and mulled cider and Christmas lights and gift buying.
But what advent really is is a spiritual season of preparation before Christmas (like Lent is for Easter). A period of preparation in which we ready ourselves for the birth of Jesus Christ. It is a time of prayer, reflection and repentance, followed by anticipation, hope and joy, peace and love. It's central to my faith and I really didn't want to miss this part of Christmas - I wanted to find a way in the craziness of everything to be quiet and reflect on what Jesus birth on that first Christmas means in this helter skelter crazy life we live. I bought an Advent Reader from Regent College (thanks to a friend at church for getting them).
I am so enjoying reading the prophecies and the psalms and the accounts of the birth of Jesus. I am also loving singing along to the carols on the radio and trying to take the words to heart. To try and comprehend the gift of that baby all those years ago.
I hope you can find a quiet moment to reflect on your faith or your life, your family.....give yourself the gift of a quiet moment or two this month.
I gave myself 15 minutes on the way to work today to watch this sunrise.....how blessed am I to live here.
It is well with my soul today.