I have always loved the way my friend Liz & her family celebrate Advent, and I enjoy taking ideas & cues from her each year. She offered the most beautiful, simple beginning this week:
no matter how ready or unready we are, He will come. how comforting to know that it’s not about us. it’s not about whether or not we are prepared for His birth.
this week, we prepare our home for the celebration of His birth. how do you prepare for Him, the greatest of guests?
if you are not accustomed to celebrating Advent in your home, start simply: hang some evergreens above windows or place them as a centerpiece on your family meal table. light some candles as the evening thickens. sing “O Come, O Come, Emmanual” as you light the candles together. create a sense of wait and preparing and wanting.
the need for LIGHT during the dark of the year. Light is coming. prepare your heart. prepare, ye, the way of the LORD!
evergreens: symbolize the new and everlasting life brought through Jesus the Christ.
candles: the LIGHT of Christ. natural light in a season of natural dark.
I've also gotten wrapped up in Advent Conspiracy! Sounds intriguing, right???
It started in 2008:
And has gained speed! The idea behind this is totally NOT being all Scroogey and cutting out Christmas presents. We all LOVELOVELOVE gifts! *I* don't want a Christmas w/o presents. But the point is being more available to celebrate Christ together during the Advent season, instead of worrying about consumerism:
"The story of Christ's birth is a story of promise, hope, and a revolutionary love. So, what happened? What was once a time to celebrate the birth of a savior has somehow turned into a season of stress, traffic jams, and shopping lists. And when it's all over, many of us are left with presents to return, looming debt that will take months to pay off, and this empty feeling of missed purpose. Is this what we really want out of Christmas? What if Christmas became a world-changing event again?"
"God’s gift to us was a relationship built on love. So it’s no wonder why we’re drawn to the idea that Christmas should be a time to love our friends and family in the most memorable ways possible. Time is the real gift Christmas offers us, and no matter how hard we look, it can’t be found at the mall. Time to make a gift that turns into the next family heirloom. Time to write mom a letter. Time to take the kids sledding. Time to bake really good cookies and sing really bad Christmas carols. Time to make love visible through relational giving. Sounds a lot better than just getting a sweater two sizes too big, right?"
I also like their challenge to buy one less present this year - just ONE - and put that money toward those who are needy. (I am LOVING this idea!!!) "When Advent Conspiracy first began four churches challenged this simple concept to its congregations. The result raised more than a half million dollars to aid those in need. One less gift. One unbelievable present in the name of Christ."