In case you haven't noticed, it's 8 weeks to Christmas. This isn't meant to inspire fear, it's meant to remind you of a few things.
1. Chances are you have approximately 4 weeks until people start beginning to drop by your home unexpectedly. This usually begins around Thanksgiving in our home. (for the record, that's American Thanksgiving)
2. Chances are also fairly good that if you have children, or even if you don't, your social calendar is going to start filling up in the next few weeks making catching up on ANYTHING nearly impossible.
3. Chances are there is a part of you that DREADS the chaos that ensues in the next few weeks and lasts until mid-January.
4. Chances are, you need a PLAN.
Now, the problem with #4 is MOST plans out there that exist are not FOR Catholic families. They're FULL of "decorate your house in November so you're all set" and taking an entire day off for Black Friday crazy shopping. They're not dedicated to time with family and time in prayer during Advent, which is to serve as a "mini-Lent" where you should be spending your time focusing on the light Christ will bring to the Earth on Christmas morning, not time spent being nearly beaten to death so you can secure the latest, greatest toy for your 10 year old.
Fed up with the crazy? Yeah - Me too.
So for the past 2 years I've simply refused to participate in it. We still celebrate, but we've done it in very small ways. For one of those years I was 6 months pregnant. For the other, I had an 8 month old baby. Our family holiday season focuses on helping OTHERS, not ourselves. Now that's not to say my kids come downstairs Christmas morning to an empty tree or that I've thrown the baby out with the bathwater. We DEFINITELY still celebrate - but in a VERY different way.
So this year, I'm inviting you with me on the journey. We are 8 weeks from December 23, 2013. Right now it doesn't really have a name - at the moment I'm dubbing it:
I'm literally simply planning to share with you my day planner, how *I* prepare. My "to do's" and my "don'ts", my cleaning schedule, my prayer schedule and meditations, and simply just my way to say, "I wish you EVERY ounce of love you can possibly absorb between now and Christ's birth."
Every morning I will give you a chance to pray, a list of "what to get done", and a list of "what to let go". Yes, there will be some decluttering in the process. You may not be June Cleaver by the end, but by the time Advent begins (actually ON Dec. 1st this year!) the random drop ins will be less stressful and the time of prayer and reflection will be able to occur without you spinning your wheels and just ending up making it worse and then stuffing the clutter into your shower and praying no one opens the curtain while they're there for a holiday dinner.
Let's do this together. You, and me, and anyone else who decides to hop on board and take the journey with us. I promise we will laugh. I can also promise we will probably cry. I will take your ideas and you can take my ideas and together, we will make it to the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. I can promise you this year you will have clean clothes ready for every Holy Day of Obligation for all members of your home and party and will have new and fresh ideas to incorporate Advent into your home and heart.
We will spent the first 4 weeks preparing our homes for the holidays. The next 4 preparing our hearts for Christ. Join me! I look forward to sharing my journey with all of you.