Between loads of laundry and cleaning after our warm, sunny, Florida holiday, I decided to get acclimatized to the cold weather and go for a run.
What I didn't prepare for, was the weather...and snow.
I went out, and soon realized that snow packed roads were slippery and I had to turn around to put my spikes on (lest I wreck myself trying to run on ice).
Making it back out again, much more confident, the snow-packed pavement turned to snow covered trails; soft fluffy snow, cool fresh air and stillness was just the recipe after a fun packed holiday.
I did laugh at myself for not being prepared, becoming strikingly aware that in summer, there's not much to get ready for. Pavement could be wet from rain, but sneakers will always suffice. The weather is usually warm and a light jacket will do, most days.
But winter is a whole different ballgame. It means more layers, gloves, a toque...and the spikes of course.
I'm glad for summer days, when I don't have much to prepare for, it makes going out simple and easy.
But I'm also glad for winter days, and doing what is necessary to get ready for the season.
We have an important season on the horizon.
Advent may come at us when we are coasting, when life is simple, when things seem at ease. Just like summer we may find ourselves on track and in a good rhythm of simplicity.
Some years, though, it comes in less colourful contrast, when we've been striving to get through each day, slugging through arrangements and chaos and everything seems like it takes more out of us. Like the winter weather, harsh and cold, Advent may come when we just don't want to make the effort to plan and prepare for anything else.
Preparation requires time, and it costs us energy. It means we need to anticipate, to gather what we need, and take the necessary steps to get ready.
It is time to prepare for the celebration of His coming! No matter where we find ourselves, Advent comes. It is a means of grace in our lives, to evaluate the tasks of life, in order to discover what is most important, the hidden treasure. It may not be what you expect, but if you seek it, you will find it.
To get us ready for the season, to help us in our discovery, here's some questions to ask:
How am I entering the season?
We need to acknowledge where we are at today. Are we entering the season in chaos, or simplicity? Has life been taking a toll on our emotions, our efforts and thoughts? Will the effects of ups and downs of the year bring challenges and struggles into our worship? Maybe this is the invitation we need, to lay down our burdens at His feet, to trust Him more with our stress, our loved ones and our life.
Are you in the middle of a joyful, restful season? Enjoy the gift of this time. Use that momentum to carry you into Advent, deeper into His Word and celebration of who He is. May He bring you closer to Himself as you seek Him.
What will we do together as a family to remember His coming?
Do you have an advent devotional, a calendar, or traditions you want to include this season? What will your family time look like this month as Christmas celebrations begin? It's that time (maybe past time) to plan a few activities, books to read and ways to reflect on Christ. Uniting together as families in our faith is a proclamation to those around us, and to each other, of what is most important.
How will your giving reflect the Christ child?
Toys abound. There is never a lack of "stuff" that we can buy for our families and loved ones. Is there a way you want to be intentional in how you give this season? We give in order to replicate the most gracious gift we've been given, in Christ's coming. Let's not lose sight of the reason why.
What role will your home play in the season?
As you decorate, prepare baking treats, and play Christmas music, how do you want to use your home to glorify God this year? Are you hosting family or friends? Christmas is a wonderful reason to invite people to your home to celebrate the coming of Christ, to share in fun, games, and delicious food. The opportunity is here to share great Love in words and in acts of love.
As we prepare this season, my heart's desire is to prepare well, to remember intentionally and to give a whole lot of love to the world around me. So, when you pick up your car's snow scraper, or see the booster cables in the backseat, (or maybe the spikes on your runners), remember that you've prepared for the winter weather, don't forget to prepare for Advent.
How are you preparing for the Advent season?
**I am preparing an Advent series for the next few weeks, to help me prepare my own heart, and to encourage you as well, so keep your eyes peeled on the blog for the first article "Appraising Advent In Light of Faithfulness" next week!
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