We put up our Christmas tree a week or two earlier than usual this year. Really, we hadn’t planned on heading to the local tree farm two days after Thanksgiving, nor had we woken up thinking we’d adorn the house in kitschy decorations while turkey and mashed potatoes still festered in the fridge.
If I’m honest, I’ll tell you that in previous years I’ve wagged my finger at people who play Christmas songs in November, who delight in the green and red of Target’s holiday section when Halloween costumes are still on prominent display two aisles over. I guess a bit of a Grinch lived inside my heart, at least until the first of December rolled around.
But then 2018 came crashing down in a “when it rains, it floods” sort of way.
It’s been a hard year on our family, filled with more heartache than I’ve wanted to hold, with more grief than I’d ever wish upon someone else. For now, most of these stories live within the walls of our house, unfit for public consumption, a telling between us and God and the hearts of those we hold close.
I guess it’s no wonder that we needed the tree earlier than usual, that we found ourselves eager for a little bit of hope and light to break through the darkness. Perhaps it comes as no surprise that all four of us are eager for the Advent season to begin, even if it means entering into another period of waiting and unknowns.
After all, there is a pregnant expectation in the waiting – and sometimes a sprinkling of joyful, pregnant expectation is all I really need.
Do you find yourself in a similar spot? Have you been going through a rough time too and you find yourself in a place of desperation, begging for Advent like you never have before?
If this is part of your story – or even if your story isn’t one of desperation right now – know that you are not alone. I see you and I stand with you …and if this yearning is something you find yourself eager for, I do have a number of resources I want to point you toward.
So, take a deep breath and scroll down for a number of different resources (and thanks again to the community on my public Facebook page for all the amazing recommendations!)
Books to Act as a Guide:
Come, Lord Jesus: The Weight of Waiting (Kris Camealy)Unwrapping the Names of Jesus: An Advent Devotional (Asheritah Ciuciu)
Silence – And Other Surprising Invitations of Advent (Enuma Okuro)
Family Books + Other Resources:
Make a Jesse Tree
Participate in 25 Random Acts of Kindness
The By/For Project (Micha Boyett)
Advent Photo-a-Day (Olive Chan)
Finding Holy Holidays (Ashley Hales)
Advent and Christmas Resources 2018 (The Episcopal Church)
Additional Interactive Ideas:
Go on an Advent Preparation Prayer Walk, like this church in Lenexa, Kansas
Visit a living nativity
Create an Advent wreath, with candles
Buy or make an Advent calendar
So, how’s your heart feeling as we enter the Advent season this coming Sunday? What other ideas, resources and books would you recommend for individuals and families as we step into this season of pregnant expectation? Leave a comment for the rest of us below!
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