During the former years at our church, Advent came part of my favorite time of year. I say the same thing every year at this time, but it was like Christmas, my favorite time of year, stretched out in time to last three whole months longer.
I wanted life to be perfect, and pretty much I still do.
It seems like every year there’s this pressure to make it mean something. Every Christmas, in the same way every summer, feels like a time you can’t get back. People talk about the commercialization of Christmas and the extra stress that causes for people. Besides the normal shopping lists and schedules, this isn’t where I feel the biggest stress. It has more to do with the spiritual side. I need to be teaching my kids about Jesus. We need to be having special Advent devotions. I feel a nagging sense of guilt when I can’t or don’t keep up. There’s always this feeling like it’s never enough.
Knowing this, that every year there tends to be the not enough-ness feeling, I’m trying to embrace it thinking back on past years. Some of the traditions I always hoped I would do with my kids but couldn’t do when they were smaller–the cinnamon ornaments and gingerbread houses–we’re actually getting to do more of now. Other things, like the Jesse Tree we’ve never yet made, or the Ann Voskamp kid book that barely got looked at, or the felt Advent calendar going days now forgotten, I’m just having to let go of. There comes this point where there is nothing left for me but to lean into the rest of trusting God’s love and care for my children. I do my best to pass on the faith, but each one of my children will walk their own path.
I hope that doesn’t sound too much like resignation. I’m basically saying I can’t do it all, and that will pretty much always be the way that it is. I’m also not saying that in time every single dream will come true. I’m saying that somehow we learn to adapt.