3 easy things to do this Advent

Brace yourselves, because the season is upon us. Yes, it’s Advent time, and with it comes all those extra expectations that moms everywhere embrace (even as they cringe).

I don’t know about you, but I don’t need something more in December, but Advent can (and is!) a great blessing to family life. Here are three easy things that I embrace every Advent, and that I encourage you to consider … but only if they draw you closer to Jesus as he comes at Christmas!

Pick a prayer

There’s no shortage of Advent devotionals, though an Advent devotion can consist of praying a simple “Come Holy Spirit” every night before bed.

An Advent wreath can be a way of praying together as a family, and it can be a beautifully visual way for children.

Don’t forget, too, to nurture yourself during Advent: Praying as a family is hugely important, and so is that time you spend with the Lord, during your commute or shower or odd moments alone.

Wait to decorate

Some years, this tactic looks more like a hastily thrown together plan of inaction. When it’s done most effectively, I find that we build our anticipation for Christmas as we get our home ready.

It usually starts with an Advent wreath, which we will try to light a few times a week during dinner … or sometimes even breakfast. Then out comes the Advent calendars, with their daily promise of activity and treats.

Getting our tree and decorating it is often a full evening project involving tools and memories and movies. We bond in ways that will make us laugh in years to come, and we remember past Christmases as we get the ornaments ready. We’ll hang up lights outside, if we’re lucky, and maybe even a wreath.

And all of this happens over the course of Advent. By the time the house is finished, it will be time to tuck the kids into bed and await the joyful squeals of Christmas morning.

Not only does this take the pressure off a false sense of needing to have everything done by a certain date before Christmas, it also helps us remember, as we journey through Advent, what the season is leading us to.

Don’t listen to (much) Christmas music

Turns out my inner Scrooge lays lower when I don’t have a cheery and false expectation of what should be going on. It also turns out that I enjoy the onslaught of specialty tunes more when they’re condensed closer to the actual day of joy.

That’s not to say that we don’t listen to music. There are great selections of Advent music available. I’ve found quite a few on Spotify, and there are also collections online elsewhere.

Consider tapping into silence, too, during this season of hustle and bustle. Let it be a way you open yourself — and your family — to the gift of the Christ Child on Christmas Day.