I really, really wanted to get more out of Advent this year than I actually have. I could list the million reasons why I haven't, and I will list a few. The last month or two at work has literally been the CRAZIEST out of the 4.5 I've worked there. Life getting ready for Penny is a hustle and bustle, especially with the various health issues I'm trying my best to stay on top of. Work events and baby showers and wrapping up faith formation and juggling our sometimes conflicting schedules, oh my!
My romantic notions of Advent 2013 included our traditional advent calendar of activities (aimed to bring us closer as a family and, ultimately, closer to the Holy family). It included Advent devotionals (I ended up deciding on one by the saints). It included lighting the wreath each night. It included the Christmas Novena. Last, but not least, our advent plans included me taking time to focus on my relationship with Mary.
So far we have lit the candle and stuck with the novena, but the success ends there. In an attempt to grasp the point of the season (waiting and preparing for Jesus), I cut out the advent calendar this year to simplify life. Because going every second of the day does nothing to improve my relationship with sweet little baby Jesus! And the devotional just kind of fell off after about a week. And I really am working on my relationship with Mary, but I guess 10 minutes once a week to read the chapter in A Catholic Mother's Companion to Pregnancy just isn't quite enough. She'd probably appreciate at least a few more of my precious moments each week.
All is not lost, though! The Christmas Novena is challenging, to me anyway, but in a really good way. It's calming and meditative, which are good things to experience in the season of preparation and waiting. And I still have 7 days left. These next 7 days include an early Christmas with my husband's family, delivering gifts to everyone on my caseload at work, finishing up shopping and wrapping for Steven and the member of my family I drew in Secret Santa, and getting ready for a whirlwind trip to SC for Christmas. But it's also 7 more days that I can work on my heart, 7 days that I can work on calming myself and being present, and an entire week to think about what it was like for Mary in these final days of her pregnancy as I'm in the final months of mine. I know it's my choice whether or not I get anything out of this last week of Advent, and I plan to tune out from the world a little more this week as I prepare for the coming of our Lord.