advent, christmas and being present

This Christmas season, I want to be more present. So many times the past few years, I’ve been so focused on my busy-ness and travel and to-do list and shopping that I somehow get to Christmas Eve or even Christmas Day and haven’t even focused on the real reason we celebrate. I grew up learning about Advent, but this year, I’m really trying to focus on it; this season leading up to Christmas. I recently read that Advent is ‘waiting for the day God shows up for all of us’ and I love that simple definition. Advent is the four week period before Christmas where the

In these weeks leading up to Christmas, I want to be present, I want to anticipate what’s to come, I want to be joyfully expectant of the good thing that happened on Christmas morning. Below is an excerpt about Advent that I’ve read over and over – hope you enjoy and take time in these 2ish weeks before Christmas to soak in, be present, anticipate what’s to come.

 

There are years when the Christmas spirit is hard to come by, and it’s in those seasons when I’m so thankful for Advent. Consider it a less flashy but still very beautiful way of being present to this season. Give up for a while your false and failing attempts at merriment, and thank God for thin places, and for Advent, for a season that understands longing and loneliness and long nights. Let yourself fall open to Advent, to anticipation, to the belief that what is empty will be filled, what is broken will be repaired, and what is lost can always be found, no matter how many times it’s been lost.

If what it takes for you this year to be present in this sacred, thin place, to feel the breath and presence of a Holy God, is to forgo the cookies and the cards and the rushing and the lists, then we’ll be all right with cookies from the store and a few less gifts. It would be a great loss for you to miss this season, the soul of it, because you’re too busy pushing and rushing. And it would be a great loss if the people in your life receive your perfectly wrapped gifts, but not your love or your full attention or your spirit. This is my prayer for us, that we would give and receive the most important gifts this season—the palpable presence of a Holy God, the kindness of well-chosen words, the generosity of spirit and soul. My prayer is that what you’ve lost, and what I’ve lost this year, will fade a little bit in the beauty of this season, that for a few moments at least, what is right and good and worth believing will outshine all the darkness, within us and around us.

Both quotes via Shauna Niequist

Image {and awesome print} via Lindsay Letters

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