As Advent approaches, I begin to organize myself for the Christmas season. I make lists and plans, think about friends to gather with and family with whom we share sweet memories. I remind myself to stay focussed on family and faith when the hurriedness of the holidays falls upon us and I spend time reflecting on the past 12 months.
This year we have seen so much tragedy. We have seen shooting after shooting in what should be sanctuaries the spiritual and academic. We have seen our world at war and people literally running for their lives. At the same time, our family has been blessed with 3 amazing children and a safe home. We have traveled far and loved deeply. When it seems there is a larger sense of darkness in the world, it’s important to recall and give thanks for all the light and goodness it possesses as well.
Advent for me, is a time to do just that. To slow down and focus on what is truly important. While gifts are fun, teaching our children generosity, kindness, and hope are what the four weeks of Advent are all about. When we shifted the core of our December to what is truly at the heart of Advent, we were able to savor moments and enjoy one another and those we love more deeply.
Advent is the four Sundays leading up to Christmas Day. This year it begins on November 29th. We have a few family traditions we look forward to each year. I give the kids their Christmas jammies, change their sheets to Christmas flannel, wrap 24 Christmas books – one to be read each night of Advent, but most importantly we take a few moments each evening to light our Advent wreath candles, say a prayer and listen to the sweet sound of our Angel Chimes.
I couldn’t ask for a more authentic experience for our family. I love that my older children continue to look forward to these moments each night when we can come together, just us, in anticipation of Christmas Day. We pray for hope, joy, peace and love. Let us not ever forget that loving and being loved is at the heart of Christmas and may it remain with us throughout every day of the year.
This year, I’ve updated all of The Simple Proof posts on holiday organization, handmade gifts, and family traditions. I’ve also added a DIY for a simple Advent wreath, a new handmade gift, and 2015 Gift Guides. All posts will be easily searchable under “The Simple Proof Christmas.” May yours be simple + sweet.
top image | via la petite cuisine