Many years ago when Dave and I were raising our brood of youngsters, Advent was the season for “cleaning house” because “Jesus was coming.” This was a different kind of house cleaning, that had nothing to do with picking up Legos or vacuuming. I was a good housekeeper in those days, as I was a full time homemaker. I tried to instill a need for order into my children’s lives, teaching organization and tidiness.
But Advent was different. We weren’t looking at our surroundings, we were looking at ourselves. The first Sunday of Advent when we lit the first purple candle, all the children found tiny little boxes. Usually at least one was a little matchbox or an egg carton cup. They decorated their box and put it on the family altar. Every day they were instructed to do something for someone else, or do something to make themselves better, like an examination of conscience. Things they didn’t need they gave away. They made a gift for a sibling after they drew names. Their reward was a piece of yarn, or a piece of straw, to put into their box, which was becoming a cradle for the baby Jesus who would be happy with all the goodness in his bed. On Christmas morning tiny plastic dollhouse babies were in the little beds. Even though the babies were the same every year, this custom never got old. They were excited that Jesus had come, as well as Santa.
I thought about this tonight when Dave and I lit our candle and read the scripture in our quiet house. We’ve been doing some upgrading of kitchen and baths that has created a much bigger mess than anticipated. Every kitchen drawer had to be wiped out, and most of the pantry food had to be thrown away. Sugar, flour, anything that had been opened had tile chips and granite dust in it. All the can goods and all the dishes washed. While emptying all the kitchen drawers I found a lot of accumulated things that needed to be thrown away, like old keys, and dead batteries. The drawers and cabinets are all clean and organized now with old junk in the trash.
I feel strangely exhilarated by this drawer cleansing. I mean, who really cares? No one sees them but me anyway. But I think this will be my new Advent custom. Go into the pantry, the closet, my heart, hidden places no one else sees and toss out all the old junk. Cleanse. Rethink, Organize. Apologize, go to confession. Get rid of all that dust. Do something for someone. Breathe and enjoy. Clean House. Jesus is coming.
Copyright 2015 Deanna K. Klingel.
Photos copyright 2015 Deanna K. Klingel. All rights reserved.
About the author: Author Deanna Klingel lives in the mountains of western North Carolina with husband Dave and golden retriever, Buddy. They raised seven children plus others, and now enjoy twelve grandchildren. She travels with her books to museums, schools and historical events. Visit Deanna’s website at BooksbyDeanna.com.