Posted by: littlebitofparadise | December 2, 2013

Why I am NOT Doing Advent This Year

Advent

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.

It’s me.

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!

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Responses

  1. Stephanie, I think you are such a wonderful Mama! Your boys are so blessed to have you for their Mama! I would like to encourage you and pray for you in your motherhood. I will be praying for you every day in my daily rosary.

    If anybody needs prayers ,please feel free to leave a comment on my blog, and I will be more than happy to pray for you! If you would like a free St. Gianna prayer card, you can email me with your address and I will send you one! You are all in my thoughts and prayers!

    May God Bless you!

    Love,
    Maria In Mass 🙂

    • That is so sweet and generous – THANK YOU Maria!! Your prayers mean so much!

  2. Stephanie, I am always inspired by your insight, and I must say that your thoughts on this Advent were just what I need to hear. I was feeling so guilty about being worn out by Thanksgiving and not gearing up to do all the Advent activities I could. This gives me hope! God bless you, and your family. I hope you have a Blessed – and personal – Advent! †

  3. We haven’t had a Christmas tree the last three years. Dangerous for toddlers anyhow. My dad gets mad about this when he visits but like my husband says, then you put it up, we’re busy!

  4. I am right with you, Stephanie…an Advent wreath on the table is about all I can manage. You so eloquently put into words what I have been stressing out over–love it!! Hope my kiddos can feel Jesus and Mary loving them more and more this Advent season… I’m trying to respond to them as I would imagine she would. Wow–was I *really* screaming that much?

  5. Love it! 🙂

  6. I think you really captured some important insights here. I had a similar personal experience attending World Youth Day in Sydney. I wanted to wring the most spiritual benefit possible out of it, and was stressing about how to fit in my regularly scheduled prayer times, when I think God let me understand that He wanted me to let World Youth Day “happen” to me–He would direct it all. I think you’ll have your best Advent yet. 😉

  7. What a great post! I really feel ya, its totally true that with a baby and toddlers things are just crazy. And I know if I pile on activities and try to do just a little bit more than my regular day I end up a total grouch yelling at everyone I see. Which doesn’t seem the way to show my kids the peace and love of the season! I really hope you have a wonderful Advent, I think if we stick with this God’s going to help us a lot!

    And thanks for your kind link to my post.

    • Christy! Thanks for commenting and THANK YOU for that post. It really touched my heart.

  8. Amen to this.
    I need Jesus. I need God do advent in me.

  9. But the whole point of the Jesse Tree and a zillion crafts is just what you have found here: the quiet inner waiting for Jesus that we all try to experience with Mary and Joseph and the whole Church and world. Waiting for Love and Peace to enter the world, quietly and peacefully.
    If you (and I for sure) feel stressed out about “doing” Advent, it’s because we’ve forgotten the central reality of Advent — prayerful, joyful watchfulness and expectation.
    If you have your Advent candles, or even just a spirit of “Jesus Is Coming!”, you’ve already “done” Advent!

    Thanks for your blog post!

  10. Beautiful! Thank you for putting this into words, it’s so easy to forget that Christmas is more about Jesus’ working in our hearts than all of the external things….as fun and wonderful as those things can be, there’s plenty of time for that in the years to come. Blessings to you!

  11. Beautiful! I do all liturgical seasons as you’ve stated, for the very reason you clarified…they need us to not be frazzled. Because my boys loved to be read to, I did find this book, which we enjoyed very much, and read parts of it over several days, and then re-read it…it was our Advent. Blessings! http://www.amazon.com/The-Jesse-Tree-Geraldine-McCaughrean/dp/0802854036

  12. […] never expected my admission that I’m not doing Advent this year would strike a cord with so many other hearts. Thank you, friends, for your encouragement and […]

  13. […] ~ Why I’m NOT Doing Advent This Year – I definitely related to this one as a nursing mom. […]

  14. […] was from that place of exhaustion, overwhelmed and needy, that I wrote the post Why I’m NOT Doing Advent This Year. It was one of the best decisions I’ve made for my family – to give myself a liturgical […]


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