We hear in sermons what the liturgical calendar tells us: we should approach Advent with a contemplative pace. It's what we long for — to have time to watch for the Messiah.
But we're so tired. There are Christmas cards and packages to get to the post office. We need to bake two more batches of cookies before we can get some sleep. We've double-booked ourselves again and wonder how to gracefully attend both events.
Like me, you've probably read the magazine articles that order us to prune our expectations by doing only those things we decide are important. The authors cheerfully assume that if we stop giving gifts or tell our relatives they can't come visit this year, everyone will understand. But in the real world, most of us find it impossible to pare our December to-do lists.
It's time to think about this issue differently. Although it might seem counterintuitive, this year let's try adding some contemplative and creative activities in the hopes that it will carve space in our schedules to steer us back to the true purpose of Advent.
We already have some tools to help us in that direction: Advent calendars and wreaths. It only takes a little time to light the candles on the wreath or to open Advent calendar windows.
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