It is nearly a week into December and I’m trying to make space for Christmas. Some of this is physical. The front room furniture had to be shifted around to make space for the Christmas tree. This led to the discovery of hidden piles of dust and debris which we cleaned up. But more of the work is taking place in my head. I’m trying to rearrange my thoughts so that I can enjoy the approaching holiday, not just on the day itself, but also the approach to it. Creating a holiday mood in the house is a help, thus the need for a Christmas tree. I’ve also lit the candles with the holiday smells, which is unsurprisingly effective at invoking Christmas feelings.
As part of my effort to create holiday in my heart, I began a personal advent program. I have a candle with numbers on it. Each night I light the candle and let it burn down by one number. While it is burning I flip through my paper scriptures and glance through passages that I’ve marked through the years. Within a minute or two I’ll find one that speaks to me. I write it down in my journal and a few sentences about what that particular verse means to me at this time. Then I pick a specific fear that has been plaguing me, I write it down and deliberately try to let it go instead of carrying it around. Naming the fears has been interesting. It is also interesting that the scriptures are often related to the fear I choose to let go that evening. Twenty five scriptures and twenty five released fears will go a long way toward clearing my mind and heart. I hope.
I’ve already bungled it, of course. I missed my ritual for a few nights. Then when I remembered I had to decide whether to try to catch up or if I should just proceed forward by one per day. I ended up making up the missed days during church. Which left me burning down the candle with my scripture pondering already done for the day. At least the tree is up. It doesn’t have lights yet, but Link has said he’ll do them tomorrow. Then I’ll feel like I can pull out the boxes of ornaments and other decorations. On Wednesday I drive to fetch Kiki from school. In two weeks the other kids will be out for the holiday. Day by day we move forward and most of my Christmas efforts are about pausing and pondering so that the season can contain contemplation rather than just bustle.