Someone posted this video on Facebook today and it got me thinking; what am I doing to make sure we keep our focus on the real meaning of the season this Advent?
It is so easy to get caught up in the gifts and the cookies and the trimmings of Christmas and lose the reason for all the preparation in the hustle and bustle of all the, well, preparation.
I have three young kids who are all pretty excited about new toys and clothes and electronic gadgets. They are a little less excited about us dragging them (yes, dragging) to Mass every week, but drag them we do.
That’s the thing, when I asked myself what do I do to keep the real meaning of Christmas at the forefront, I realized I didn’t need to so much with my children as I probably do for myself. It seems that with our regular every day Catholic lives and then the added rituals of the Advent season, the kids are pretty well focused on the fact that the birth of Jesus is why we have Christmas, not Santa Clause.
We light our Advent wreath candle every night at dinner and say a short prayer, rather than opening a calendar window counting down to Presents Day. Rather than snowmen snow-globes, we have had a Fisher Price Nativity Scene in the center of our room, since the kids were babies, and as you might imagine it has lead to much discussion over the years around Jesus’ story. We spend a good amount of our time and resources giving back to those less fortunate than we in equal proportion to what we may receive. We talk a lot about gratitude, even more than normal, which is already a lot.
So, no, my kids don’t need to shift their focus to what is important, as it is already there. It is I who needs to remind myself, almost daily, that the Advent season is one of preparedness of my soul, not my Santa stockpile. It seems I need to clarify my reason during this season. My job is not to solely be the mom who must give all that is on the list but rather to be the daughter who must ready herself to receive.
Because, grace is coming and no amount of bargain shopping will help me be ready to have it as my best me.
That’s going to require much more than an extended Black Friday sale.