Confession: Last year we practically skipped Christmas. With mere weeks till moving day number three, we spent our December in the throes of packing, renovating, and shuttling back and forth between our two homes.
I knew I could not do a traditional advent calendar, so I devised an Advent of Quiet: 30 gentle preparations of the heart. My idea was to spend less time planning and doing, more time thinking and experiencing. I wanted to get at the meat behind the trimmings. As it turned out, I didn’t have time for an Advent of Quiet either… so this year, my idea is still fresh.
Some years joy dominant is the right thing–energy, excitement, charisma. Some years peace is in order–calm, rejuvenation, hope. Can you guess which I need this season?
An Advent of Quiet–30 gentle preparations of the heart
- Sip a hot drink in silence.*
- Write a list of Mary-words. What describes the young woman who welcomed Jesus so graciously?
- Arrange a few things in the house in preparation for Jesus’ arrival. What needs to be tidied? What laid out in welcome?
- Share and pray with someone in need.
- Enjoy music.
- Find some outdoor treasures—gifts from Jesus.
- Read the Christmas story from a modern translation.
- Make something warm for a baby.
- List 10 things Jesus’ coming changed.
- Write a list of current gratefuls.
- Pray kingdom gifts for those you love. List them.
- Have a quiet tea time with the children and an empty place setting.
- Have a candlelit supper with an empty place setting.
- Share your supper with one guest.
- Write a letter of welcome to Jesus.
- Add a pair of baby boy shoes to your decorations.
- Receive a child. Welcome and care for a real one.
- Leave your porch light on all night. He’s coming!
- Plan a gift for someone in need.
- Sit down with a hymnbook and sing/read some good ones of Advent.
- Pray for the kingdom to come.
- Enjoy the weather and listen to the truth it tells you about God. Write it down.
- Examine your heart.
- Sit in silence with Jesus.
* If you want your Advent calendar to span the entire month of December, as I do, put this one in 5x [grin]. For a different twist, mix this calendar with yesterday’s. Or pick and choose activities, but let go of the pressure to do one every single day.
(Do you know what the word Advent means? “The coming or arrival, especially of something extremely important…”)
In whatever way you choose to celebrate the season, make space for His coming! There is no shame in enjoying entirely nonreligious joys. He will join you whooping on the sledding hill. He will go with you to the library. He will smile over your shoulder at the icing smears all over your children’s faces. But be aware of Him. Make space in your heart.
That is the point of Advent.