We are just a few short weeks away from Advent! This year it starts December 3rd, and I can’t believe it is almost here. Advent is one of my favorite seasons of the liturgical year, but it can be a struggle to be still and prepare my heart for Christmas when there is so much busyness and celebration going on all around me. I have to be intentional about celebrating Advent. if I’m not it is very easy to get swept up in all the hustle and bustle. Over the past few years as I have come to understand and appreciate the true meaning of Advent. I have started to realize that I need to plan ahead in order to get the most our of my Advent and truly feel prepared to celebrate the wonder and beauty of Christmas. It is amazing how a little bit of preparation leading into Advent can make a big impact on how fruitful the season is for me.
If you are interested to learn more about our Advent in our home check out THIS post from last year!
Here are 5 things that I do in November to help me be more prepared to enter into a prayerful, expectant Advent:
1. Make a plan for Advent. I like to use my Advent planning page to plan for the season ahead. What am I going to do personally to enter more fully into Advent? This usually means finding an Advent devotional or setting aside time for more prayer or adoration. I also decide what we will do in terms of family devotions, and make plans for the feast days that fall during Advent. We love to celebrate St. Nicholas, St. Lucy and Our Lady of Loreto.
2. Order Advent Supplies. November (or before) is the time to order candles for your Advent wreath, any devotionals that you might want to use and any other supplies that you might need for the liturgical season! I am the worst about pulling out my Advent wreath only to discover I needed to order new candles. This year I ordered this Prepare Him Room devotional. I really enjoy a little change to my normal prayer routine, and seasonal reflections to draw me in during Advent. This year I am extra excited to be doing the same devotional as a few friends which will allow for accountability and deeper reflection! Of course you don’t have to buy a devotional, you can use the daily readings or find reflections online.
3. Get the bulk of your shopping done. The last few years I have made an intentional effort to have the bulk of my shopping done before Advent begins. I have found that this really helps clear up some metal space and allows me to spend a lot more time being still and preparing my heart. It has been so nice to not spend my Advent shopping or stressing about what I am going to get everyone!
4. Decorate my home for Advent. The last few years I have started decorating my home a little differently, choosing to put out some Advent specific decorations for Advent and then transitioning to Christmas decorations on Christmas Eve. It is a little more work, but having things organized into tubs specific to each season has made it pretty painless. I really think the decorations help set the mood for Advent. Not being surrounded by all the Christmas decorations yet helps to remind us that we are still waiting- waiting for Christ and waiting for the celebration of Christmas. Waiting to put some of my decorations out until Christmas allows me to have the joy of the Christmas decorations through Epiphany without tiring of having it all out.
5. Make an Advent playlist. I love a good themed playlist and it is especially true during Advent. My playlist is another thing that I think helps me to stay grounded in Advent instead of rushing into Christmas. My Advent playlist has many songs that would be considered Christmas music by many, it’s just a collection that is more focused on the still, longing versus the celebration of Christmas. I love to play mine in the evenings when I’m cooking dinner or in the early mornings when it is dark and calm in the house. I included my playlist in my Advent post, you can find it HERE.
I hope you have a beautiful, intentional, Christ-filled Advent, and that your hearts are more ready to receive Christ as you enter into the celebration of His birth this year! Is there anything that you have found that makes your Advent go a little smoother? Please share!