December is a busy time. We all know this. We try not to add in too many extra things, because there is more than enough implied by simply stating the name of the month. “December.” Eek.
I had vague intentions of making time for a quiet spiritual journey this Advent. I wasn’t going to listen to Christmas music until December 25. I was going to set aside time for prayer. I was going to read something (what, was never determined) to prepare my heart for Christ. But then I remembered:
I have a three-year-old and a baby.
Of course it is possible to make time for reading, for prayer, for quiet with small children, but as we approach Christmas, I’m finding my joy and gratitude coming from the moments when we are together, when we’re singing, when we’re laughing, when we’re reading Scripture passages for our Jesse tree and relating them to the very noisy Bible study we’re involved with. It’s as I’m wrapping gifts and baking muffins and cookies that I’m thinking about how grateful I am for my family. It’s while I allow myself to listen to contemporary Christmas music, and anxiously await singing “Joy to the World” at Mass on Christmas morning that I am aware of the real gift we remember at this time of year.
It’s a little more worldly than I expected of myself, but this is what the season is for me this year. It’s studying the Word of God to read aloud at Mass. It’s ministering to my family by making thirty paper snowflakes and supplying festive sprinkles. It’s remembering that this little guy has a birthday coming up, too.
It’s knowing that Christ comes to me where I am, and as long as I’m doing what I can to prepare my heart for him—even if it doesn’t look how I thought it would—it will be a very merry Christmas indeed.