This year, we decided to start actively celebrating Advent during the four weeks leading up to Christmas to prepare our hearts for the coming of Jesus as a baby, & to also continue preparing our hearts for the coming of Jesus as triumphant King (see the book of Revelation for more - it's pretty awesome). We decided to follow a reading plan that uses the Jesus Storybook Bible. Each story points toward Jesus at the end, which is really great, especially for the Old Testament. Anyway, we've done a pretty sad job of it. Between being out late some nights & sometimes just plain forgetting, we're seriously batting... well, I don't understand batting averages, but it's low. But, I feel our hearts are in the right place, & we'll do better next year!
I have realized though that I need to do some purposeful praying to get my heart in the right place. Even though I'd like to think that celebrating Jesus & God's plan for the salvation of mankind is my main concern during this time of year, I've found that it's just not. I have layers of tradition & cultural concerns built up around my heart. No, certainly not every bit of it is "bad." But I'm not pleased with myself. I'm not entirely sure where to go from here. I don't think anything drastic needs to be done - I think I just need to pray, a lot. Knowing the condition of my heart & mind is the first step.
It has been fun this year to see Elliot experiencing everything Christmas. He didn't get a lick of it last year, but this year he gets really excited to see "more lights!" & snowmen & talks about "baby Jesus born." Josh will be off work for a week & a half, & I'm so looking forward to spending all of that time as a family. Plus, I just love having him home! I may need to do some heart exercising to get it in good spiritual condition, but I will indeed truly enjoy sitting in the living room, twinkle lights on the mantle & candle burning to give my house that "real tree" smell, thanking God for the best three men in my life. Nothing wrong with that.