What do you want for Christmas? I know, I know – it’s a little early! And no, I’m not going along with the Christmas-decorations-before-Halloween retail trend. But a woman I used to know always tried to have her Christmas shopping done before Advent started so she could focus her attention on spiritual matters in December. She was a lay leader in her church, and this discipline made a big difference for her. I was struck by how grounded she seemed, while I was running around like a maniac.
Clergy and other church leaders can find these weeks among the most challenging of the year. Advent starts two months from today. What can you do now to make those weeks easier for yourself? Here are six ideas. If you can only do the first two, I predict you’ll have a more celebratory December. Start with some clarity about yourself.
1. Make a list of what you want during Advent and Christmas at home.
2. Make a list of what you want during Advent and Christmas at church.
3. If you haven’t already, review the Advent texts and sketch out some worship ideas.
4. Look now for some kind of Advent devotional to use to support yourself spiritually through the busy weeks. (I’ve found some great resources at my public library, including some beautiful children’s books that inspire me.)
5. Make a quick shopping list so you can notice things to pick up as you go and avoid the crowds later.
6. Have an initial talk with your family now about holiday plans. (After #1, above.)