I couldn’t find my Advent book this year, so I bought a new one. I’m always on the lookout for good Advent books anyway. Okay, got to love Amazon. My new book, The The Advent Jesse Tree arrived Dec. 12, so we were already 12 days behind the suggested daily reading to prep families for Christmas.
Usually I like the books that offer weekly Advent readings that lead up until Christmas day. That way I don’t get so far behind. And, my older kids are often not home for dinner time anyway, so they are missing out anyway.
And, they sold out of the Trader Joe’s chocolate advent calendars this year; they used to carry the German ones but now they are from Canada and those are okay, but they ran out of those as well. Actually, I was just late getting there this year. So, I looked at Safeway and they had these kitschy SpongeBob and Cinderella ones. I just couldn’t do it.
So, for the first year, I actually filled the Advent wreath that has 25 little openings, the one I bought in Germany a couple of years ago. I added three treats per day for each of my three kids who are at home. My sister-in-law had given me a homemade one years ago but all I ever seemed to do was hang it up as decoration. So, this year to fill up my German one was a huge deal for me.
But, then someone has been sneaking ahead on several of the days and there have been treats missing from some of the days of December. Man, we are just an Advent failing family; though, I like to give us credit for at least trying.
I’ve seen so many posts lately on Advent lately, and I love them and I hate them.
Back in the day, when Advent was not as popular, just me getting a chocolate Advent calendar for my kids each year felt like a success. Add to that my weekly readings each Sunday, and I felt like, yeah, I’ve got this thing down. Back then, it didn’t seem like people were doing much with Advent, so my simple traditions felt perfect.
In Germany where I hail from, Advent is a huge deal and I try to bring in as many German traditions as possible for my family.
But now it seems like since everyone is into Advent, I feel like I am not doing enough or what I am doing is not enough. See what comparison does?
To be fair, it has been a hard year, and my counselor reminds me that I need to lower my expectations or at least change them; yes, this year of the accident is just different anyway.
So, I am going to try to just relax in all of this. So what if we don’t get to all the readings. We can read several in one night which is what we did when our friends came over the first day of Christmas break. It was going to originally be an adults-only event, something we had been trying to do for weeks, but since it was the start of vacation, we thought let’s have kids too because there was an adult-only event the next night already. I am so glad we included kids. After sharing a home-made pizza meal, I announced I wanted to do our Advent readings with the kids. And, i was totally surprised when our friends kids each asked to do a reading. Yeah, I thought, we can get this thing caught up. The kids really enjoyed passing the book along to one another, to each read a day, which made my own kid enjoy it that much more. I think we got to Day 10 on Dec. 18.
And, even with several readings in one night, we may not complete all 25 Advent readings. That is okay. We can read the stories after Christmas, too. And, so what if my kids snuck ahead in the Advent wreath and there is no more candy for the last couple of days before Christmas. Oh well.
This is real life. We are trying and we are doing the best we can under the circumstances. Real people live here. My kids live here. And sometimes they are not home for Advent readings and we just move on. Traditions change with circumstances. We make the best of it.
Was Jesus born into an ideal situation? Nope. But in the end, it was perfect and it was part of the Larger Story of God.
We need to let go of perfection and expectations and the way things ought to be and the way things always have been, and enjoy and appreciate the real-ness of life with our kids in this moment in time. Embrace our imperfect homes. And our imperfect traditions. And our wild schedules — in order to live our stories.
Here we are, Lord. We await your coming. Advent. In the end, it is about the heart. Preparing our hearts for the coming of Jesus. Celebrating His birthday.
May we be at peace. Awaiting the prince of peace.
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.— Isaiah 9:6