Ready for Advent: Week #1

November 29, 2022

I’m ready for Advent now, but Friday morning as I defrocked the house of its fall look, I wasn’t so sure. Our grandson had retrieved all the Christmas bins from the storage area underneath the snug, and they waited for me in the lower level bedroom. EEEK!

When I read a novel, setting and characters are more important for my reading pleasure than plot, and that is true for me in my day-to-day life as well. Creating an interesting and creative setting that inspires reflection and growth, as well as an atmosphere for connection with others has always been a priority for me. That is especially true at this time of the year.

I confess that this year the process felt daunting to me. I wondered if this was the year I would say “been there, done that” and limit myself and decide to be a convert to Christmas Minimalism. (Is that a thing?)

Once I opened the bins, however, and became reacquainted with reminders of Christmases past, I was on my way, and the house is now alive with a Christmas glow.

The setting welcomes me into Advent reflection –this time of waiting and promise and finding the light in the darkness. The setting creates a space for the birth that needs to be revisited over and over again. The setting is a threshold for whatever unfolds. The setting asks me to open to what most needs to be discovered and honored, as well as the ways I need to challenge myself.

I am ready.

An Invitation

How do you prepare for this new season? I would love to know.

An Aside:

Not only did I prepare the house for Advent, but I also continued the ongoing process of decluttering. I packed up one bin of fall decorations and two bins of Christmas decorations ready for our annual spring/summer garage sale. I suspect when I pack up the Christmas decorations after Epiphany, I will add more to the “ready to let go” piles. How good that feels!


My post on Thursday, December 1 will include a list of my favorite novels of 2022. On Thursday, December 8 I will list my favorite nonfiction books of 2022.

Advent: Week #1, Choosing My Advent Companion

Even though I spent a good chunk of time last week decorating the house for Christmas, I had not thought much about Advent. How often I leap ahead, instead of being present to what IS right now.

Now to be fair, what I know about myself is that I love to create settings, and often the setting is the first step for me as I enter a new season or a new task. The setting is now complete: the tree is in its cozy corner, the big blue cupboard is home to brush trees, all the Santa Al’s are stationed in the kitchen, and the Nativity Set is once again arranged on the white cupboard in the dining room.

I am ready to turn my heart to Advent.

One of my practices in recent years has been to select an Advent companion from the Advent Perspective cards illustrated by Tracy Mooty with questions and narration by Janet Hagberg

Sunday morning before getting ready for church I sat in my meditation chair in the garret and shuffled the cards. I took a deep breath and whispered, “Who will be my companion this season? Who will be my teacher, my guide and what are the lessons waiting for me to open and to receive?

I turned the cards over facedown, fanning them on my lap. Taking another deep breath, I moved my left hand over the cards, hovering like a hummingbird near a bright blossom, until –for whatever reason–I knew the card under my hand was THE card.

I turned over the card.

One of the Wise Men.

Wasn’t one of the Wise Men my Advent Companion last year? I checked my journal from December, 2020, and yes, that was the case, although it was one of the other Wise Men, one with a rainbow patterned cloak.

Last year I wrote in my journal how I have always appreciated the Wise Men’s openness to revising their plans; how open they were to new information and how they paid attention to their intuitions. They followed the star. They listened to their dreams, and isn’t it interesting that they had the same dream? What a conversation they must have had. “I had the most in intriguing dream last night.” “Wow, I had that dream, too.” “So did I.”

They listened to each other’s dreams about Herod’s ill intentions and after visiting the new child, they returned home by another way.

Much of 2020 and on into 2021 has been about adjusting, finding another way, and about listening to what we most need to do and be. I wonder how well I integrated those lessons. If at all. Apparently, the Wise Men still have much to teach me.

Here are the questions posed on the back of my Wise Man card:

How would you describe the journey you’ve been on this year? What course corrections might be needed now to better lead you in the direction of Bethlehem?

What precious gifts are you most eager to offer God in this Advent season?

Where in your life might you need to travel a different route in order to avoid danger or harm?

The Wise Men (WOMEN!!!!) will be my companions once again this year, and I look forward to the journey. Stay tuned.

An Invitation: What characters or images in the Christmas Story most interest you? Mary? The Sheep? The Star? I would love to know.

NOTE: This Thursday, December 2, I will publish the list of my favorite nonfiction books of 2021.