I hope this posting finds everyone doing well and having a restful Advent! In the past, we have done Advent many different ways. One year, we even delayed trimming the tree. This was harder for me than I thought. I have always loved Christmas time - - both the time before and after. It was always a time to focus a little more on others, and a little less on myself. As a young girl, one of the sure signs of Christmas was putting up the tree, which we did soon after Thanksgiving. I would lie under the tree and look up at the lights.
I thought delaying the tree would allow us more time for reflection and really focus our Advent on preparing our hearts for Christ. I have since come to the realization that for us, preparing our home can be a part of preparing our hearts for Christ, as well as our home for the company that inevitably visits during the holiday season. Stringing lights on the tree often calls for reflection and sacrifice. Reflection on what the lights mean and sacrifice for the many cuts and frustration of string lights that ensue. Putting up the ornaments, especially those special ones, gives us time to reflect on the years past. I have a few with pictures of the kids when they were younger. We also have ones that reflect the personalities and likes of our children - - like the flower-power VW bug or the ice cream cone.
And with the tree comes the tradition of putting up the train and houses beneath. A few years back, loving the movie and book, we had gotten the Polar Express train. So our tradition is to put up this train once a year. We also take the time to watch this wonderful movie again. While we don't do the Santa thing too much here, the movie reminds us a little about what Christmas is about. Not Santa, but belief and faith, trust and hope.
We also get to pull out our Nativity scenes. We have several. We have the traditional one that went up on the piano this year. I have one made of olivewood from the Holy Land that goes on the TV. We have the one made by Playmobile that comes out for the kids to play with at this time of year. There is also a cool German one. Unless, baby Jesus is glued in, we wait until Christmas Eve to put him in the manger.
I have found that the many preparations in our home, from decorating to baking cookies and making candies to reading stories with the children all lend itself wonderfully to traditions and to preparing for Christ's birth. Certainly preparing your home for Christmas can be a symbol for preparing our hearts. Hopefully, both will be beautiful for coming of Christ!
God Bless you all and I pray that all have a wonderful holiday season!