The year 2020 sure has gone by fast. In just a few weeks, the Christmas shopping season will be in full force and the secular world will already be listening to Christmas music and celebrating the season.
Because of the pandemic, Christmas may look different this year than it has in the past. But it may also provide us with greater opportunities to connect with family, friends, and God throughout Advent and beyond.
The Purpose of Advent
What is Advent? It’s the liturgical season leading up to Christmas when we prepare our hearts for the coming of Christ. That doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate or have any holiday fun before December 25, but it invites us to spend the weeks leading up to Christmas in a spirit of solemn waiting and anticipation.
How to Prepare Intentionally
The rest of the world starts Christmas right after Thanksgiving, but the Christmas season actually begins on December 25 and lasts well into January. So there is value both practically and spiritually preparing for the Christmas season before and during Advent.
To prepare for Advent intentionally, here are a few ideas…
Make plans to make comfort foods and favorite family recipes.
Plan out what Christmas cookie recipes you plan to use this year and start buying ingredients for when you’re ready to begin baking. Gathering together all the special ingredients you need (that are non-perishable, of course) will help you avoid last-minute trips to grocery stores with out-of-stock shelves.
- Plan out your family traditions and gather what you need to prepare. Gingerbread houses? Advent calendars? Caroling? Plan out what you and your family want to do to prepare for and celebrate the holidays (spiritual and otherwise) and do any necessary prep work now. This is also a great time to consider how you may have to adapt, change, or reschedule any special Advent or holiday activities given the COVID-19 situation.
- Dig out your Advent wreath. Many of us always plan to use our Advent wreaths each week of Advent but either forget, can’t find the candles, or aren’t sure which prayers to use. Do a little pre-planning now by finding or buying an Advent wreath, replacing candles, and printing out prayers for each week.
Get your Christmas shopping done early.
A great way to reduce stress is to get Christmas shopping finished early. Plan ahead and do any ordering or secret shopping trips now before stores get busier and delivery times get longer.
Finding Peace in Busyness
One benefit of the pandemic may be that this Advent, we feel less compelled to travel, run errand after errand, and leave shopping and preparation to the last minute. The pandemic has made many areas of life slow down and has forced us to get “back to basics” in many ways.
Perhaps this year we can refocus and reorient our hearts and minds on spending time and energy preparing our hearts for Christ during Advent, and then focusing on the joy of his coming at Christmas.
We must take time to find peace in the busyness of the season. We can do that by practically preparing, like getting our Christmas shopping done early. But we can also prepare our hearts during Advent by fitting a few spiritual habits into our day like reading Scripture or the Mass readings each morning.
Let’s spend the last few weeks before Advent begins on November 29 preparing to make it a fruitful season that is focused on preparing the way for Christ in our hearts at Christmas!
Missing your Craft Shows this year? We are too!
Join us Thursday, October 22nd for our next “No Show” Event. Knots of Grace on YouTube. 6:30-9:30 pm ET.
What is a “No Show” Event? It’s Knots of Grace’s way to provide you with an in-person craft show experience within the safety of your own home. We love craft shows - and don’t want anyone - including my Father-in-law & I - to miss out on attending one this year, even if they have all been canceled due to Covid-19.
Plus, no need for dressing up - just grab your favorite beverage and come as you are! And you can always invite a friend to shop with you (virtually, of course)!