We are DAYS away from the beginning of the Advent season. Everyone have their Advent game plan together??? 🙂 🙂 🙂
Probably because I started a blog and naturally that would make me feel like I’m obligated to have some pretty grand and elaborate plans – I’ve been totally unable to make any decisions. I’m not sure if this is some sort of personality trait (I’m a solid INFP, if that gives you any info) but there’s a couple things you should know about me, 1) I’m awful at decision making and 2) I get overwhelmed super easily.
When I start feeling overwhelmed by all the decision making I need to do, my default is to get it all written down on paper. So naturally I ran to Pinterest and tried to find all the Advent planners, because that’s a productive use of time. But everything I saw was complicated and kind of made me feel even more overwhelmed. So after some deep breathing (and a little wine) I came up with my own SIMPLE planner.
Here are the questions that I wanted to focus on:
1) How are we going to help our children grow closer to the Lord?
2) What are our underlying spiritual goals for the season?
3) How will we prepare our home?
4) How am I going to use this time to become a better mom?
This has helped me tremendously to narrow my thoughts and really focus on what I want to focus on. I’m sharing it here with you – just in case you’re looking for something simple as well. You can download the PDF by clicking here. Maybe this isn’t going to line up with what you are looking for or the type of questions you want to be asking yourself – that’s totally fine if this doesn’t speak to you! My goal here is just to share whats working for me in hopes that it helps a few of you!
How are we going to help our children grow closer to the Lord?
We’re embarking on a few new things this year! In the past we’ve done the Advent wreath and St. Nicholas’ day. We’re still doing those, but we are also adding St. Andrew’s Christmas Novena and St. Lucy’s day.
I’m still considering the Jesse Tree – but it’s probably not going to happen. It’s a fantastic devotional practice and I have the ornaments already. But I’m just not sure my kids are old enough to really embrace it and I don’t want to overly complicate this season. Sometimes you just have to embrace life where you are and that almost always means making some sacrifices – even for lovers of Liturgical Living. 🙂 I will say, though, that if you are looking to do a Jesse Tree, my recommendation HANDS DOWN is the book “Our Family’s Jesse Tree” from Faith and Fabric. I actually participated in a swap this time last year, where we made these ornaments and they turned out FANTASTIC! Her book is such an amazing resource and I love that you have options for how you want to put together the ornaments – you don’t have to be super crafty – and she provides you with the appropriate devotions. This is totally cumulative. Done for you. You don’t have to go anywhere else. Buy this.
I’ve been so excited about St. Lucy’s Day ever since Dakota and I knew that we were going to name a daughter Lucy! (Which was before we were even engaged – is it weird to admit that?!) Lucy is still little so obviously we’re not going to have her waltz around the house with live lit candles on her head. I’m planning on making Cinnamon rolls for breakfast that day and giving her a wreath crown made from dollar store garland and hot glued LED tealights. Classy. Safe. Stay tuned for more info (and maybe even a tutorial on that wreath – let me know in the comments if you would be interested in that!)
I feel a little crazy to be embarking on the St. Andrew’s Christmas Novena. This is like the definition of commitment. It entails praying the Novena prayer…are you ready for this…15 times a day! FIFTEEN! I tried looking at my schedule and marking out 15 different times in my day when I could remember to pray the prayer and I knew that by doing that I was basically planning on not even make it a day. So I’ve decided to say the prayer 5 times with each meal. 5×3=15. Boom. Bam. Done. Totally legit. I also made the prayer pretty. Because I’m shallow enough to admit that I’m totally more likely to read it if it’s pretty. I’m also offering you that PDF here. Most novena’s start nine days before the saint’s feast day. This one starts ON St. Andrew’s feast day (Nov.30) and 30 days before Christmas.
What are our underlying spiritual goals for the season?
Our goal is to really focus on preparing our souls for the coming of Christ. Simple. The husband and myself want to receive the sacrament of Confession, we want to do something to nourish our own spiritual lives, and we want to help our children to engage in the true meaning of the liturgical season (even though they are still young).
I actually purchased an Advent Devotional to help me focus on my own spiritual life. I choose Elizabeth Foss’ Rooted in Hope. I love that it has a section for daily Lecio Devina!
How will we prepare our home?
We are lucky and don’t have any crazy visitors this year, so we aren’t preparing our house for guests. But I like the connection to “cleaning” our homes and “cleaning” our hearts. I think as humans our daily lives tend to be a reflection of our spiritual lives. At least that’s something that has really proven true in my life. If my home life is a hot mess, I always feel like my spiritual life is a hot mess.
We all have those parts of our house that we’re always itching to clean out and make look more organized and cozy. I could point to multiple locations in our house where this is the case. BUT this Advent I am choosing the kid’s room. I want that space to be organized, clean, and practical.
How am I going to use this time to become a better mom?
First of all I think that focusing on my own spiritual life will ultimately help me to become a better mom. But other than that, I am committing to making sure that I end each day with the confidence that I have done my best that day. This has nothing to do with whether or not I go to bed with a clean house. I want to be able to lay my head on my pillow at night and know that I did my best – I gave 100% – to my husband, my children, and to the Lord. Because ultimately it is growth in virtue that is going to help me to clean out the rooms of my heart and make space for Christ.
What about you guys, what are your Advent plans? Let me know in the comments!