I’ve decided I am not doing Advent this year. But before you dub me a “bad Christian” and stop following my blog forever, let me tell you why.
Y’all, I feel totally maxed out this year. Getting my family’s laundry washed, three square meals on the table (and hopefully cleaned up afterwards), and my children bathed on a semi-regular basis is about all I can do before starting to feel overwhelmed and failure-ish in the mom/wife/homemaker department.
As a nursing mom, I spend a lot of the day sitting in a chair in my family room while my baby feeds. It should be a peaceful, bonding time for my baby and me, but I must admit: it’s a dangerous activity for a type-A, perfectionist personality like me. You see, while I sit there and nurse, I take in all of the things that should/could/wish-they-would get done in my house. I look at my cabin-fevered toddlers and think of all the things I would love to be doing with them each day. And sometimes, just sitting there thinking and making mental lists and notes and to-dos makes me feel overwhelmed and ten thousand miles behind where I should be.
So of course in the past couple weeks, I’ve been sitting there nursing thinking about Advent and Christmas. And I’ve been reading blogs and articles about what other Catholic moms are doing with their kids this year. And the more I read, and the more I think, the more I start to panic. Because I’m just not there with a Jesse Tree felt board and 25 homemade ornaments, or a hot-glue-gunned craft project for St. Nick’s Day, or a fresh homemade Advent wreath.
My oldest is three this year, and he loves all things crafty and celebratory and special. He’s at an age where he soaks up all of it and is so excited to learn and try and sing and do. This fact makes my sense of overwhelmedness even worse, because I know how much he’d enjoy many of the Advent things I’m reading about on other mom blogs.
But while my kids would probably love it, their Mama does not need a lot of Advent projects this year.
I desperately, deeply, totally need Jesus.
I need the peace and the hope and the joy and the PEACE that is so sought after and sadly hard to find in this very full liturgical season.
So this year, I decided I’m not doing Advent.
I’m going to let God do Advent instead.
My focus this year is going to be on letting God do Advent in me. I want to pray more (that I CAN do while I’m nursing!). I want to soak myself in scripture (I can do THAT while nursing too!). I want to read books that lead me into the heart of Jesus Christ (nursing activity yet again!). And I want to be the peace of Jesus to my kids. They don’t need an uptight, scattered mom barking/yelling/screaming/growling at them in her stress so we can fit in more Advent crafts and projects. They need a mom who loves Jesus – who finds PEACE in Jesus.
And in the end, it’s not the projects and stuff that’s going to most teach them about Jesus.
Without expectations, to do lists, or projects, I’m going to walk into Advent letting God do His thing. Anything else I feel we have time to “fit in” will be great. But the pressure is off. The to-do lists don’t exist.
My kids will have other Advents to learn salvation history with the Jesse Tree. They’ll have plenty of time to work that hot glue gun and explore the craft box.
This year, they can snuggle up on the couch with me while I try my best to soak up some Jesus this Advent. We’ll pull our Advent calendar and Advent wreath out of the attic. We’ll sing some songs and light the candles. We’ll read Advent and Christmas stories.
And the rest?
That’ll be up to Him.
“Be still, and know that I am God.” – Psalm 46:10
P.S. After writing the draft to this post, I read what two other moms had to say about taking it slow this Advent. These articles REALLY brought peace and perspective to my heart, so I hope you click and read!
- To The Mamas of Littles During the Holidays – by VitaeFamiliae
- A Relaxed but Intentional Advent (The Lazy Girls Guide) by Fountains of Home