I almost didn't write my post yesterday. I didn't have anything amazing or deep to share, didn't have anything cute or funny to write about. (And here I am metablogging, which is my least favourite kind of post to read - please feel free to tap out!) But I wrote anyway, because it's my favourite way to prepare for Christmas. I feel like if the gospel matters at all, then it has to matter in everything ... but it's really easy for me to forget that. Especially now, with so many little needy people to maintain and grow, I get blinded by the urgent and neglect the important. So taking twenty-four days to look at my life through an Advent lens is my way of refocusing on what's important, seeing things more truly in the light of Jesus and His good news.
If I look around the house tonight, there's no denying it's starting to get Christmasy in here. The tree is up, and even decorated (patchily; we had three eager helpers), and there are a few decorations peppered through the kitchen and living room too.
This year, it has been a slow process. We haven't had a big clearing out of regular things and accumulated junk, and a big replacing with Christmas things. I didn't get bitten with the Christmas bug this year (I think I'm just too tired); haven't broken out my CDs (yes, I still love CDs), haven't played many Christmas movies, haven't done much shopping. The Christmas boxes have been underfoot for a while. Uneaten Halloween treats still clutter up the kitchen shelf. The kids' drawings of Thanksgiving turkeys are still taped to the wall by the couch. I just erased a list of summer-boredom activities from the window. We've definitely got an all-seasons motif going on.
But my parents are coming next week. I've got to tackle it without delay - clear away the debris of old holidays and leave room for rejoicing. I need to throw out that puzzle with missing pieces and bring up the board games from storage. I need to dust and sweep and mop. I need to take the bag of coats and mittens and unloved teddy bears to the donation centre. I need to clear out, clean up, and prepare.
And in just the same way, I need to sort through the accumulated junk in my heart. I need to open up my eyes and ask if this mental habit needs to stay, or if that can be tossed. I need to pick up the stacks of loose thoughts and rifle through them for the good ones, the true ones.
You know? It's hokey, but if I don't take time to do a little considering, I'll end up living even less intentionally, swamped in junk and dust, unable to find the valuable things and unable to enjoy them.
And that's what this blog is ... just me, sitting bleary-eyed in my half-decorated house, sorting through my thoughts and holding up scraps and bits of my day next to the Christmas story, trying to see it all clearer in the light of Advent.
And you, friends - your encouraging comments and chiming in "me too!" and letting me know it helped you see something a little clearer, a little lovelier - you're like the visiting company, the impetus to work harder and care just a little bit more.