Christmas is so tantalizingly close (YAY!). BUT there are four whole days of Advent left to be held and cherished. What are we to do? How shall we endure? See below. You’re welcome.
1. This playlist.
Y’all. I have already admitted to my lack of waiting skills. I flat out would not have made it through Advent without this playlist this year. Haley at Carrots for Michaelmas put it together for all to enjoy.
If words create worlds, music makes the seasons. (I have my eye on this little list for the very second Christmas gets here, fyi.)
2. Saintly sneakery.
Use your stockings as secret/not-so-secret holiday PO boxes. This has gone really well for me this season. We pulled our stockings out on Feast of St. Nicolas back on December 6th and have been using them as mailboxes ever since.
The story goes that Bishop Nic sneaked money to people experiencing debilitating poverty during his day by tossing coins into homes. The money would most often land in and around stockings left on the hearth to dry—thus, our modern stocking tradition.
As legend goes, St. Nicolas helped keep people from danger by making sure they had the money they needed to pay taxes and to, well, eat. One particular legend I appreciate about St. Nicolas has to do with him helping a family keep its daughters from being sold into slavery. Yeah. The man was a thwarter of systemic violence and evil.
Our stocking tradition is not nearly as cool as St. Nic’s original shenanigans, I have to admit, but we do use them to spur one another on toward realizing the Kingdom.
Wanna try? Surprise your loved ones with a little heartfelt note or goodie in their stocking one morning this week to encourage them in their last few days of Advent!
3. Devote yo’self.
I have enjoyed the light of a few devotional writings this Advent. Some days they have kept me afloat.
Aaron and I have been reading together from Enuma Okora’s Silence: and other surprising invitations of Advent almost daily. She does a beautiful job bringing readers to meet with Elizabeth, Zechariah, Mary, and Joseph in their confusing and risky and completely graced states of anticipation and waiting. The book is organized into days and each day includes scripture readings, a brief exploration, and a prayer. Lovely.
Also, many of my friends at Wake Forest School of Divinity contributed to a little volume of Advent readings. Get a free digital copy here or follow @WakeDiv on Instagram.
4. Do what you need to do.
One of the most oft quoted axioms in this house is “Action cancels anxiety.” This SO applies to Advent. Waiting is not a game or a trial of endurance for endurance sake. We NEED this time to prepare our lives, homes, and relationships for Jesus’ coming—in the manger AND upon the clouds!
I will say that this looks different for everyone. Some of us need to engage practices to help us lean into the season while others of us just need a break. I will leave that up to you to discern.
Beyond the haze of societal demands and expectations, what do you need to do during these four days to prepare yourself to receive Christmas? I mean, really. What needs ordering, cleaning, or otherwise adjusting so that you can enjoy the gracious gift of Christ’s coming—literally AND metaphorically? What needs to be let in? What needs to be let go?
My Advent To Dos:
- Clean the house—Jesus is coming!
- Weed my closet. In the process of trying on a few dresses last night for our church cantata I realized that I have been holding onto some pieces that neither fit my body or personality anymore. It is time to let them go. Simplify, simplify. And send those clothes to be of service to someone else!
- Bake and put up goodies—for the Twelve Days of Christmas. of course!
- Set up the Nativity!!!! Mary and Joseph need some time to settle in with the animals before Jesus and the shepherds show up come Christmas morn. I think our magi are going to travel this year (like, around the house) and arrive on Epiphany. Oh, the fun of it all!
- Light a candle—and hope beyond hope.