’Tis the season: ADVENT. Contrary to what you hear and see, it’s a season of devotion, not decoration. Herewith, my personal five-point guide on how to use this month to prepare for a frenzy-free Christmas.
1. Make Your List
Brainstorm gift ideas for Jesus, considering what He wants most. Best bet: the time-tested trio of golden forgiveness, sweet-smelling humility and the balm of a contrite heart.
2. Figure Out Your Plan
Worry less about the Christmas tree and more about Christmas triage (the determination of priorities for action). Put first things first: prayer, acts of charity, Scripture. No one’s going to suffer if you use your time to worship God instead of wrap presents.
3. Pump up the Spirit
Find a Bible verse for the month and meditate on it while you bake or shop. I’m choosing Luke 10:41-42: “[I am] worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one.” Stay focused.
4. Clean House
Scour your conscience thoroughly. Pay particular attention to corners you’ve overlooked and scrub away excuses. Apologize to those you’ve hurt. And don’t forget the dust bunnies—all the things God asked you to do but which you neglected. Confess thoroughly, and let God make your soul sparkle.
5. Remember Why You’re Doing This
The purpose of Advent isn’t to make people happy or to manufacture warm memories. Those are incidentals that happen automatically when we focus on the real thing: preparing our hearts to greet the infant Lord.