Eight Festive Advent Calendars

Eight Festive Advent Calendars

Advent is just a few short weeks away (it begins the Sunday after Thanksgiving this year). It's a season of hope, patience, expectation, waiting. The people were walking in darkness. They knew the Light would come one day, but they didn't know when. Instead, they walked in faith, believing that redemption was near.

Every year, we remember (in some small way) the waiting - the walking-by-faith part of the story. This is why I love Advent calendars - a tangible way to count the days, to journey through Advent with a spirit of hope and expectation.

When I was growing up, we had a large felt Advent calendar shaped like a tree with a small ornament for each day. We also had an array of paper calendars with doors to open and Scripture verses to read (some even had chocolate inside!). For the past few years, SD and I have displayed this lovely Scripture card Advent calendar by Oh My Deer (included in the list below).

Christmas Time is Here

With Turkey Day behind us it seems the whole world has turned to Christmas and the upcoming holiday season with gusto. The radio stations are playing solely holiday tunes (though, I admit, I gave up on them after hearing "Dominic the Donkey" today); the church is decked out with trees, wreaths, candles, and bright red bows; and our tiny P.O. box is filled to the brim every day with cheery catalogs. It's a joyous season and yet it's also the busiest month of the year!

Between extra meetings, special bulletins, long choir rehearsals, finals, shopping, wrapping, and traveling, I feel like I'm holding on for dear life some days. It's hard not to get carried away in the hustle and bustle! In moments like these, I try to remind myself to take life one step at a time, to prioritize what's most important, and to keep smiling through it all. Part of that "grace not perfection" mantra is taking time to admire the red and green decorations in the Pharmacy window on my way to work instead of speed-walking down the sidewalk, spending time in the evening addressing Christmas cards (they're black and white and so us!) instead of fretting over the bulletin formatting, taking a Saturday morning to bake Butter Cookies (a family tradition) instead of sending emails, and planning a few days of escape with family instead of sitting at home planning for the Spring.

This season, though busy and full of opportunities to feel overwhelmed, I choose peace. I choose thankfulness. I choose joy.