Advent Resolutions

Oh, Thanksgiving, you really did a number on me. You were fun and full of life, overflowing with glorious time spent with the family I love so dearly. But then you tricked me by being “not Christmas” and made me believe I wasn’t tired and the next thing I knew, BAM! After four solid days of family time, I hit the wall and that was all she wrote. Enough. Fin. Caput.

The Monday morning after that marvelous, exhausting weekend, I was still in fine form. I was holding my own and so you duped me, Thanksgiving, into thinking I had made it through, that I had weathered the storms of exhaustion just by willing myself not to be tired.

But lo, Tuesday morning rolled around and you, Thanksgiving, handed me my walking papers. You said, “that was fun, but now it’s time to pay.” And pay I did. I was so worn out, as I got my children out the door, that I had very little left to give. And it was not pretty. And as the last child clicked his seatbelt, I said a little prayer that nothing would happen to me while they were at school. I didn’t want this particular morning to be their last memories of me. It was that bad, I was that out of sorts.

So I regrouped. I took some time. I took a few deep breathes and spent some time in prayer. And while I could have told the Lord all about it, I took comfort in the fact that he already knew and we didn’t need to rehash how tired I was and how I was running on fumes. Instead, I sat in silence and felt him close and thanked him for all the happiness and goodness of a life that is so brimming with love that it sometimes tosses me about, like a tiny speck in a vast ocean.

If that was Thanksgiving, I’m tempted to fear, how will we manage Christmas? We are standing on the edge of a ravine and once we take the next step, the one leading into Advent, we set in motion a flurry of activity that won’t end for weeks to come.

I feel scared.

But not really. I don’t. Somehow, here I am, a few days after my Thanksgiving fatigue and I am excited and full of hope. Embarking on the busiest season of the year, far busier than the week that just tossed me about like the tiny ship I am, and I find myself joy-filled and happy.

This is exactly what Advent means, the redemption of Christ, his willingness to come to us in the most helpless form of humanity. He is so much bigger than our fear, than our problems that are truly epic (and even the ones that only feel that way). God is here in all of it, guiding us closer to him.

Practically, as the journey of Advent carries us towards the Christ-child, I am focused on a plan to avoid, as much as possible, the burnout that Christmas can too easily bring. Because that’s not what it’s all about. And while being tired and stretched thin sometimes just comes with the territory, we can work to prevent this season from becoming all about frenzy and exhaustion.

My advent resolutions are:

  1. Take time to pray. Even though it seems like the busiest time of the year, I have to make time to slow down. If my day is too packed with errands and class parties, then I need to set the alarm a little earlier. Even fifteen minutes in quiet meditation will keep me centered on the peace of Jesus.
  2. Operate deliberately. Be present to the people in my life, especially my children. Take time to enjoy this season. Notice the lights. Point out the Nativities. Seek Jesus in everything.
  3. Focus on love. Who can we bless today? It’s very simple, doing acts of love. And an Advent that focuses outward, on being Jesus to those around us, will be a fruitful season indeed.

Mostly importantly, I will remind myself that Jesus is what this is all about. He is our solace in the storm and flurry, in the frenzy of our wonderful life. He loves us, and he delights in us more than we might ever comprehend.

This originally appeared in The Southern Cross.

Comments

  1. Okay, so I read today’s post first, and laughed. Then I read this, and cried. This blog, your writing, is a gift to me, thank you.

  2. jeanne ross says:

    The letdown that happens after a meaningful time with family
    reminds us to look forward to the day we shall all gather together with
    our Lord Jesus Christ at the Head of the Table….and the letdown and tears
    will finally, for all time, be replaced by eternal joy.

  3. jeanne ross says:

    ps – Your beautiful and honest descriptions of
    life as a young mom are true gifts to all young
    mothers who are affirmed and encouraged by your words…
    you let them know that someone else understands.

  4. Thanks, great resolutions. I’m off to play hide ‘n’ seek.

    • I happen to be reading this a day later and wondering ‘does that sound sarcastic’? My daughter was playing with her brothers in the background and it seemed like the right way at the time to implement point 2!