Entering Advent Weary

Our routine has been thrown off this week. I’m looking for something to blame – maybe it was a week of houseguests? Maybe it’s just a growth spurt? I vaguely remember having this same issue with Bea at this age… Whatever it is, I’m definitely not savoring these little years right now. When parents talk about teenagers sleeping in, it sounds glorious.

christmas-2984210_960_720While I was lying awake at 3:00 this morning, I reflected that perhaps it’s not a bad thing to enter Advent weary. A handful of nights of interrupted sleep certainly isn’t the worst of parenting that I’ve experienced so far. I know that there is a light at the end of this stretch and that our rhythm (and sleep!) will be restored.

In the early hours, I thought of all the ways I cannot wait to see the light of hope, of peace, of joy, restored. When systemic oppression ends; when global crisis is recognized; when solutions are realized rather than sides taken; when victims are trusted and believed; when the hierarchy of hospitality is removed.

That’s what Advent is, right? This recognition of global groaning – the reminder that we need a hope and a new way of doing things. I’m entering this Advent weary and I hope to use this physical reminder of the spiritual anticipation this season brings.

How are you entering Advent this year? How does your physical space affect your spiritual space?

Linked with Five Minute Friday, a time to write without editing. Today’s prompt is “near.”

Rejoicing in This Season

Even though I’m a firm believer in waiting until after Thanksgiving to begin celebrating Christmas, I can’t help but start thinking about Advent and how we’ll introduce it to our kids. I think this is the year we can begin establishing traditions that Bea will understand.

Our Thankful Tree
Our Thankful Tree

We began the month with a Thankful Tree – just a bulletin board cutout and leaves (because I am so uncrafty!) that we add to each night at dinner. I went into this with low expectations, thinking we may have to help out with prompts. But, Bea has taken the Thankful Tree seriously. Every guest at our table is given a leaf and Bea has no end of ideas for her leaves. (And Elle’s – my favorites are “paintings by Vincent van Gogh” and her carseat. We have a cultured and safe baby.)

For Advent, I’m thinking we’ll keep it simple. We’ll light the Advent candles each Sunday with a simple verse. I bought Unwrapping the Greatest Gift last year, and while the readings are probably too long, we can color the ornaments and talk about the themes.

As the days get shorter and shorter and as we come off of a rough couple weeks of upended schedule, I’m already feeling the tired winter feelings. I think of Placide Cappeau’s lyrics in O Night Divine:

A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.

As we settle into this season of celebration in the midst of seasonal weariness, I know I need to be intentional about stopping and recognizing the restoration happening right now. That we are celebrating a season of family, of generosity, of the birth of Christ, but also of the thrill of a new, glorious morn.

That, as the news and world events can make me weary, we are in fact celebrating the coming restoration of broken systems in a broken world.

How do you stop and recognize something deeper in this season that can be crazy?

Linked with Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday, a time to write without editing.