Have you ever seen a lady who is nine months pregnant up on a ladder painting a room? That is precisely the scene I walked in on at the end of September at my daughter’s house. Nesting mode had hit her hard and she was determined to prepare the way for her soon to be born son, Ian Michael. This meant moving her toddler out of the nursery and creating a brand new “big girl” room for Margaret complete with flower petal pink walls.
A season of intense preparation can feel very overwhelming. The desperate need to be ready might lead to pushing the limits of energy, wisdom, finances and sanity.
Are you ready for Christmas? Is that a question that strikes fear in your heart? Me too, it’s ever so slightly overwhelming to think that you can single-handedly meet everyone’s expectations. Expectations can threaten to crush us this time of year. Are you trying to do all the things? Me too.
Advent, which begins this year on Sunday, 11/29 is a time set aside on the liturgical calendar that gives us margin for preparation. It’s a season of less than 30 days of intentional, internal readying we all really need in our hearts in order to embrace the Christmas season. For many of us Christmas has become one penultimate day of the year when we overdo everything and end up in a heap on the floor. Not that you, would end up in a heap on the floor, that might just be me.
Advent counts down each week leading up to Christmas with a daily lighting of a candle in an advent wreath. Saying a prayer, and taking just five minutes to prepare some room to get ready for the arrival of Jesus as a baby. This ancient ritual place makes margin for setting my mind again on what is truly important. If done on a regular basis, it might lower my own anxiety and feelings of expectational pressure.
So, the question today is do you need to get up on a ladder and paint a room in order to be ready for Jesus’s birthday? No, but I do believe we need to find ways to prepare our hearts and minds for the celebration of his birth. Perhaps picking up an Advent routine could bring you peace and joy?
If you are interested in learning more about Advent, consider this your personal invitation to my church’s online Advent Event on Sunday, 11/29 at 3 pm. We’ll have some Advent carols and an author and speaker, Monica Warren, share an encouraging Advent message with us. Email me for the Zoom link – firstname.lastname@example.org.