As I started thinking about all the things I want and need to get done before Christmas, I realized that I need to set priorities in order so that the most important things get done first. I want to make sure I watch alllll the best Christmas movies, eat plenty of cookies, and visit all the cool Christmas markets in the city, and all those things are well and good, but if I put those things first, then Christmas will come and I won’t actually be ready to celebrate it. So here’s my shorthand reminder for keeping my priorities in order this Advent:
- Be Present
Week One—Pray: My focus this week will be making time to spend in silence with God. It’s so easy to ignore this and think of it as wasted time, especially when my to-do list is staring me down, but really this is the most important thing I can do to prepare for Christmas. Without quieting myself to just be with God and listen to what is really important, I can become distracted and anxious by all the noise and bustle of the season. The time I spend in prayer will help me better focus my energies during the rest of Advent; it will help me to see more clearly which things really matter and which things are okay to skip. One prayer that I’m going to incorporate into my Advent routine this year is the St. Andrew Christmas Novena—I only just heard about it last year, but it’s a beautiful, short prayer that’s meant to be said fifteen times a day from November 30 (today, the Feast of St. Andrew!) until Christmas. I prayed it last year, and I liked how the repetition of the prayer would calm me down and focus my heart on Bethlehem. I’m also receiving Bishop Robert Barron’s Advent reflections via email.
Week Two—Prepare: This is when I’ll focus on making sure that all of my Christmas shopping is done, that my apartment is clean, decorated, and ready to host a party, and that all of the logistics are in place for Christmas celebrations. I’ll make sure any year-end tasks or errands are finished so that I can rest and relax at the end of December. I’ll try to think of ways that I can make Christmas special for others, and I’ll look for ways to donate time, money, or goods to help those in need.
Week Three—Be Present: My roommate and I are hosting a Gaudete Sunday party this year to kick off the third week of Advent, which is all about rejoicing and reveling in the excitement that Christmas is almost here. During the third week of Advent, I’ll pay particular attention to noticing the beauty of the world around me and the spirit of the Christmas season in the city. I’ll take time to visit those Christmas markets, celebrate with my friends, and relish the moments of joyful anticipation. I’ll let my to-do list slide a little so that I can really enjoy New York in December.
Week Four—Prune: In the home stretch before Christmas, my first priority will be to make sure I get to Confession to prepare myself to welcome the Lord into my own heart. I’ll examine my attitudes and habits and do some last-minute adjusting before the holiday arrives, making sure everything is in order. And I’ll do the same for my to-do list—if any new tasks have popped up or if any cleanup needs to be done, this is when I’ll make sure that everything is taken care of.
Hopefully I’ll be able to stick to this plan! We’ll see how it goes :)
5 thoughts on “My plan for Advent”
Erin, this is such a cool, concise, doable plan! I really like how you systematically set it up. A Gaudete Sunday party-I like it! What a cool idea :) I enjoy getting more into party mode once that third week rolls around, and I’m sure since you live in New York, it would be extra fun! I lived in Hudson for 4 years when I was a young girl (it’s about 45 minutes south of Albany), and one year I was able to go down to NYC for Christmastime festivities-it was so magical down there! I’m with you on the “prepare” section-I’m chronically horrible with advance preparations and presents, so this year, I’m trying to get that all done ASAP so I don’t have to think about it! I hope that your Advent gets off to a rollicking, peaceful, wonderful start!
LikeLiked by 1 person
Thanks AnneMarie! I actually know exactly where Hudson is—my company just opened a second office there, and I visited for the first time last month for a meeting. It’s a lot quieter there than it is in the city!
Wow, that’s really cool! I’m sure it’s changed a lot since I lived there (I moved away about 10 years ago), but it was a fairly quiet, slow-paced kind of town.
[…] I’ve started using the Advent journal this week, and it’s a nice format. I wrote about my plan for Advent earlier this week. I’m looking forward to hearing others’ reflections on their start to […]
[…] My plan for Advent is going pretty well. Of course I don’t stick to it 100 percent of the time—there were times during the first week when I had to make plans and organize instead of focusing on prayer, and there were times during the second week when I did fun things with friends instead of making preparations, and there are times this week when I need to do errands instead of just soaking in the moment. But overall, my focus for each week has worked—prayer first, preparations second, and then just being present for the season. This week I’ve gotten the chance to go to a Christmas concert and go caroling, as well as host our Gaudete Sunday party, so it’s been really nice to enjoy all these things while knowing that most (not all, but most) of my preparations for Christmas—both spiritually and practically—are covered. […]