Ten more days!
Are you feeling overwhelmed about getting it all done? Do you feel like there is still too much to do? Is there an internal struggle between getting things done and remaining prayerful and focused on Jesus?
This reminder that there are only 10 days until Christmas Eve is not meant to make you more stressed out or anxious than you already feel. No, this reminder is to encourage you (and me) to take a breath, to pause, and to savor these last days of Advent.
I admit, in the past, I have experienced quite a bit of anxiety and pressure during Advent. In a world that is constantly hurrying, feeling frenzied, and demanding us to do it all perfectly, the Advent season can seem rushed, prayer can easily be replaced with errands, and feelings of inadequacy can sneak in when plans get derailed.
My experience of being overwhelmed during Advent is not unique. In this day and age, we are bombarded with messages to find the perfect gift, be the early bird, spend more money, color coordinate the gift wrap, and bake 31 different cookies.
But is there any mention of Christ? Do any of these demands help us prepare for His birth?
Over the next few days, I encourage us (myself included here!) to take a spiritual timeout. Perhaps your Advent plans haven’t gone according to plan. Perhaps there was less prayer and reflection than you had hoped. Perhaps the flu invaded your family and you needed to take care of your loved ones, instead of baking or shopping.
All is not lost! We still have 10 whole days of Advent! Let’s make the most of them.
Here are five simple ways to savor these last 10 days of Advent and focus on the real reason for the season: Jesus.
- Schedule an hour (or two) of Eucharistic Adoration. Nothing is required of us in this hour other than resting in God’s presence. We don’t have to say a word. But just think, when we spend time in Adoration, we join the angels, shepherds, and magi, who visited Jesus simply to adore Him. He is there. He is waiting for us just as much as we are waiting for Him.
- Open the Scriptures. Find a few minutes every day to read the daily Gospel or a few chapters of the Christmas story found in Scripture. Can you put yourself in the scene? Another idea is to pray a daily Rosary, meditating on the Joyful Mysteries. As you hold your Rosary beads, imagine holding Mary’s hand, as she guides you through her memories of that first Christmas.
- Reconsider your to-do list. Let’s ask the Lord for wisdom as we finish our Christmas preparations. Jesus delights in our desire to make Christmas “wow” for our families and friends. But is there anything that you could cross off of your list, to make it less hectic? Invite the Lord into this decision.
- Invite those who were at the first Christmas into your heart and home. Imagine Mary as your baking partner. How would she handle the sprinkles dumped on the floor, the mess of flour, and the endless dirty dishes? Maybe Joseph is there, as you wrap presents. Invite the wise men on your journey to find that last-minute gift.
- Rest in the Lord. At the end of a long day, make a cup of tea and sit quietly in front of the Christmas tree. With all other lights off, it can be a simple but meaningful way on these dark nights to anticipate the birth of Christ, the Light of the World.
No matter how you do it, try to let go of the anxiety. Surrender the burden. Allow HIM to prepare your heart. Rest in Him; wait for Him; breathe easy in Him … God is giving us Christmas! He is giving us His Son wrapped in swaddling clothes! Oh, how worthy He is of our adoration and attention!
How have you been able to savor Advent and not get too overwhelmed by the busyness of the season? Share your ideas in the comments below.
Copyright 2017 Sarah Damm