December 11, 2013

Un-doing Advent

There are so many things one can do during Advent and in the past I did them.

Jesse Tree, St. Nicholas party, marking all the feast days, reading reflections, crafts, doing, doing, doing.

This year I couldn't. I decided that instead of doing Advent how I had in the past I would "un-do" it.

Some of the basics are still here: the Advent wreath, the empty stables, St. Nick filling the stockings, and tacos planned for Our Lady of Guadalupe's feast day. The bare minimum.

And gosh, it feels good. My life feels more quiet. The doing got to be too much, overwhelming, and burdensome. It became my undoing. The un-doing has taken the pressure off.

I so badly want to teach my kids about Christ, the Church, salvation history, the saints, the Bible. I grab hold of all the good things, afraid that if I don't I will bypass the one thing which could have really done it - could have really brought home the Story and the Beauty and the Truth.

But too much of a good thing is still too much.

Me stressing out over an activity is not going to impress upon my children how much God loves them, that Jesus Christ died for their eternal salvation, and that the Holy Spirit lives within them.

But God speaks in the quiet and the still, small voice so maybe making less noise will allow them to hear Him. And the empty Nativities bring questions and conversations about Baby Jesus and what He went on to do and why. And the flickering Advent candles on our dinner table's wreath invite us to pray to and with the Holy Spirit who longs to guide us in our preparations.

That's what I'm hoping for in this un-doing of Advent.

Please God, I want to seek You out. I want to know, serve, and love You better. Help us all to grow in holiness this Advent. Help us all to focus on You and Christ's comings. May all glory be Yours. Amen.


  1. Perfect. This year we are doing a Jesse tree. Well I suppose St. Nick came too but he's one and doesn't KNOW. But I figure reading out loud from the bible during play time and decorating a tree... something should seep in. And I'll save all the other wonderful and magical Advent ideas for when he's older or just for other families. Advent is special anyhow.

  2. This is soooo good, Bonnie. Thank you! Oh, and thanks for the reminder to do tacos tomorrow night!

  3. I'm doing something similar - and it feels good. I often want to do ALL the good ideas and forget that it can all be too much. This year - books, a few events, lots of home time and not worry too much if my 2.5 year old talks more about Santa than Baby Jesus. He's learning, we're teaching - it'll be fine.

    I want to do Jesse Trees, O Antiphon activities, etc. in the future, but I'm definitely realizing that it's not necessary to it all every year

  4. And here I thought I was just not organized or prepared, etc. No, you said it, I'm un-doing Advent. We have the minimum this year and somehow that is almost too much- because everyone argues over who blows out the Advent candles. Is it really that enjoyable to blow out a candle?!! Well, we all have to alot of growing in holiness to do, I guess.
    Tacos! Yes, now we have our dinner planned for tomorrow...thanks!

  5. My philosophy is pick a couple traditions that work for your family and stick with those. I too, want to do every idea I read about, but there are just so many hours in the day and I need a couple of them each day to just BE and not DO, if you get what I mean.

  6. Me too. I have felt over stressed this advent and have done the bare basics so far. I also plan on something Mexican to eat for Guadeloupe but i don't know what yet-lol. maybe we might even go out to eat, then it will be a real treat. I just think there is too much with a house full of kids for myself to do it all.

  7. Yep. There ate so many possibilities that even the reflective seasons can easily get lost. Here, we're just doing the advent wreathe. Lu is too small any ways for anything else and Ryan doesn't observe advent or feast days. I've thought about baking St. Lucy bread, and if I do, great and if not, great. I'm the only one who would notice anyway.

  8. Amen sister friend!! I don't think I'll do Christmas cards this year ! I am also just making 1 type of Christmas cookie. Silly little things but they make a difference.

  9. Oh Bonnie. I put together my first Advent wreath and ended up taking it apart. Made a Christmas card and didn't send it. Thought of plans...and you guessed it, they didn't happen. Crap. We don't even have lights on our house this year. This has been such a rough year for us; we don't need one more thing...and I can't stress that enough---literally anything. All I want & need is my family, some quiet, to see my kids' joy & celebration of Christ. Thank you for writing this! Sometimes less really is more. This Christmas I get to adore baby Jesus a little empty-handed and broken and very imperfect and I think there's something beautiful about that.