Every December, I pack in the activities: Christmas parties, homeschool get-togethers, crafts, free concerts/plays, local Christmas events, and on it goes. If I can make it, I’m there with my kids in tow.
By the time Christmas arrives, I’m exhausted.
Don’t get me wrong. I love Christmas. But a few days before it even gets here, I’m ready to take down the decorations, pack up the tree and move on with life.
Something very important gets lost in the busyness of the season.
I lose sight of Jesus.
I think there is a part of me that believed that packing our schedule was necessary in order to create lasting memories for my children. But the more I reflect on my own childhood, the more I realize how much I value the quietness of my upbringing. We did fun things, yes. But we didn’t fly from event to event. Not even at Christmas.
Last year, I decided to slow down. I turned down invitations and spent more time at home. I spent more time savouring the season and the reason for it.
But it wasn’t enough. It still felt too busy.
So I’ve been even more selective this year. With the exception of visiting family on Christmas itself, I’ve pared December down to just a handful of events: a trip to a tree farm to cut down our Christmas tree, a field trip (possibly two) for school, a Christmas play, a breakfast, and a Christmas Eve service.
The shopping is already finished, the presents are under the upstairs tree (the girls set one up in the office/homeschool room) and the stockings are stuffed. And we’ve even wrapped up our collection of Christmas storybooks to enjoy together each morning.
November was busy but December is quiet. We’re ready for quiet.
We’re aching for quiet.
Yesterday, we began Jennifer Naraki’s A Slow + Sacred Advent. When one of my lovely friends first recommended it, I was hesitant. What is slow and sacred about adding more things to an already busy season? This year, however, I took the plunge and purchased the ebook. I’m so glad I did!
There is no “busy work” in this book. There are beautiful readings, verses and simple activities that direct hearts to the Saviour. There is breath-taking truth and goodness that fit seamlessly into our Morning Time. There are memories to be made in the quiet, sacred space that we create as we prepare to celebrate Jesus’ birth.
There is a deepening. A deepening of our relationships with each other and a deepening of our relationship with Jesus.
This year, we’re choosing to walk away from the consumerism and frantic pace of the season. We’re choosing to walk away from the endless crafts and outings and fruitless activities.
Instead, we’re choosing to embrace holy anticipation and quiet adoration.
Emmanuel. God with us.
Jesus, we choose to make room for You this Christmas.