It’s been a whirlwind year, friends. Between COVID, working, finishing a bunch of continuing education courses and finishing a doctorate and specialty degree the year before, and moving to a farm that needed every single thing renovated and re-done…I was done and feeling exhausted. I took a few weekends recently and just rested a lot and prepared myself inwardly. It turned out to be the beginning of my own lesser Lent.
As part of the Episcopal church, which is part of the Anglican tradition, we draw from both Eastern and Western traditions of the church and from the Celtic Saints. Our Western church will begin Advent on the fourth Sunday before Christmas as is customary, but I have felt called this year to start the fortieth day before Christmas (this includes Sundays, unlike the Great Lent before Easter). S, I began lesser Lent with resting and the ideas of fasting and the coming of Christmas in my head. I have been using this little book: https://www.amazon.com/Celtic-Advent-days-devotions-Christmas/dp/0857467441/ref=sr_1_3?keywords=celtic+advent&qid=1637195336&sr=8-3 to help pull things together, and I have been planning for Advent this week.
Some of the preparation is the external trappings. I am thinking about cleaning, about getting a Christmas tree which we usually do the second week of December or later but probably will do earlier this year, and about holiday shopping (of which I am probably at least 60-70 percent done). I am also thinking about food and Christmas Eve (thinking specifically about Danish and Polish food), and my word of the year.
But the internal part is about striving to be better as a human being. Forgiving people and praying for those I don’t feel like forgiving and praying for. For trying to find the light of Christ for others even when I am tired. To help walk with those in pain or distress. To understand the point of view of others. To find my prayer life again. To find times of fasting.
So, this week I sat and focused on the coming of Christmas. Not just the hustle and bustle part, but the quiet part of spirituality, of the beauty of the farm, of our lives, of the gratitude I hold for our family and very close friends who are like family. Of all the change we have been through this year, and all the changes to come. I could sit and dwell for a moment with the changing leaves, the dropping night temperatures, the little creatures scampering around the farm, the squishy horse faces that are hopefully moving in next week, the gorgeous sunrises and sunsets, This work felt just as important and wonderful as the physical preparation for Advent. What a wonderful thing to have forty days!
If you are thinking about Advent beginning the Sunday after Thanksgiving next week, here is a back post that you might like: https://theparentingpassageway.com/2008/12/07/advent-and-other-winter-celebrations-within-the-waldorf-home/ and I have Advent posts every year so over 10 years’ worth of Advent posts! You can use the search engine to pull up all the previous years.
What things are you planning for Advent? Do you have any resources to share? Please leave me a comment in the comment box – I would love to hear!
Blessings and peace,