This Advent is going by swiftly, as all Advents seem to do ever since I reached adulthood. I remember how long the weeks before Christmas once seemed to be. We girls would make our Christmas lists, lie in front of the tree to gaze upon any packages, bake cookies, draw endless cards to go into people's stockings, and wait. It was a time of preparation for something that we knew was good. Perhaps that part of the message of Advent is easier for children to grasp than adults.
Because we won't be home for Christmas, it seems silly to bother with a tree, so we haven't. I am suffering from Christmas-tree-envy as I look in all the neighbors' windows and see their beautiful lights and ornaments.
However, we have been enjoying other Advent activities.
I found an inexpensive wreath at Target and added some ribbon which just happens to coordinate with the wallpaper in our dining room. We light the appropriate number of candles after dinner and read devotions from Higher Things (you can download them for free).
Our Kiddo is deeply impressed by the whole "flame" thing, and spends our devotion time bouncing excitedly against my neck.
The holiday season is supposed to be a time of joy, which makes tragedy and suffering doubly jarring to those whose Advent and Christmas are hard to endure. I found this article, about how the author's father died during Advent when his plane crashed, beautifully moving:
Suffering in Advent by Melanie Sorenson
Speaking of articles, you should read Chad Bird's The Dad Who Didn't Have to Be a Dad: Even God Needed a Father. Of course Joseph provided the Baby Jesus and His mother with financial security and protection, but that is only one small piece of his role.
In case you missed it, here is some lighter reading: a rather wacky Christmas story I wrote involving a dwarf, a courageous mother, and a magic waistcoat button.
Advent walks are very pleasant, especially if it's dark enough to enjoy the neighbor's lights and decorations. On a street not too far from us lives a family with a doll-house-like mailbox. Someday I shall make one like theirs. As you can see, they decorated it for Christmas:
Look at those tiny wreaths in the windows! My husband says that, if we ever have a similar mailbox, he will make tiny Advent wreaths with tiny candles to be displayed within it.
To all of you and yours: A blessed Advent and a Merry Christmas!
Linking-up with Kelly for all the 7 Quick Takes.