Advent really is a curious season. Originally, it was intended to slow us down. It was supposed to parallel Lent with its build up to Easter. In Lent, we become more somber, reflecting on how we are not worthy of the gift, and yet, he comes! Advent is like that. We are supposed to slow down, reflect, and enjoy each other’s company. Yes, we are supposed to slow down.
How can we do it? How should we slow down? I have three children, a full-time teaching job, and blog on here at least once a week. I also have a number of invitations that will keep me more than busy this Advent season. But I will slow down.
First, I will light a candle. Don’t you love the light that the candle gives? It’s just enough in a dark room. It glows, giving off a warm, inviting light. It’s my invitation to slow down.
Second, I will read. I will read scripture to my boys. We will read it together as a family and I will tell them what it means. This is our family bonding time in the early evenings, and it forces us to slow down. We take in the words, and they learn new vocabulary. It will give them a vocabulary of faith. We are mysteriously joined with other people of faith and with the many people who came before us. Shared faith. It slows us down.
Third, we will hang an ornament on the tree each evening. The ornaments represent different Bible stories. This week we did the creation of the world, mankind’s sin, the Tower of Babel, and other Old Testament stories. These stories are the stories that will being healing. Eventually, we will get to the reading about Christ’s birth and all that it means. This slows us down. All those pictures will be a mosaic on our tree that points up to the star on top. The star that represents God telling us about the birth of his son. A complete picture. A slowing halt to the true story.
Fourth, we will read again. Not scripture, but Christmas stories. We have many and the boys will pick one every evening that is carefully wrapped up. I want them to know it’s a treasure they will unfold. A slowing down to notice the beauty in a story. Thee boys will listen to the words which all highlight some part of the Christmas story. The Christmas Miracle of Jonathon Toomey and Song of the Stars both show aspects of slowing down and noticing. I look forward to the stories. I look forward to slowing down.
Fifth, we will say a little prayer. God loves to hear from us. And I love to hear from him. Listening to God is what we all want in this season. I want to feel wrapped in his love. I want to feel and know He is God. I want to know He holds everything in the palm of his hand.
Advent is about Christ. It’s about Christ’s coming. It’s about slowing down, waiting for the baby, and understanding those same stars that we all sleep under are the same stars He made. It’s waiting and knowing that He comes as a baby to feel and understand everything we go through. It’s about God’s love for us.