When It’s Day 4 of Advent and You’re Already Four Days Behind…


Man proposes, God disposes…


The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men
Gang aft agley…

Whatever quote I pull out from the back of my brain, the fact is that we are four days into Advent and I am already behind.

Although really, behind in what? It’s not as if Advent is a school assignments. It’s not a work requirement. It’s not an appointment or a meeting or something I have to check off my to-do list. It’s not something I have to do in order for Christmas to come. It’s a choice.

I did a bit of planning on my Megabus ride home from New York City on Monday afternoon/evening. I had big plans for Tuesday. And then? One of my plans changed because Daniel, who has grown up from being Tiny Tim and moved on to the coveted (by him) role of Turkey Boy in Pittsburgh CLO’s production of A Musical Christmas Carol begged to be allowed to sleep in because he’s exhausted from rehearsal. I was going to have him wake up at his usually 6:30 morning alarm and go to his school, a performing arts magnet school, first, and then walk over to rehearsal, but I could tell how tired he was and gave in.

And another plan changed when Matthew had to come home from school with a 102 degree fever.

Which led to some scrambling because I had to leave for work around 3:15, Matthew was sick and also only 9, and the kid who could watch him wouldn’t be home until 4:30.

But it all worked out and I taught 3 great classes, but by the time I got home and snuggled my kids and checked in with them and ate something, I was too tired to even think about the blog. And I’ll spare you more details, but today wasn’t any less chaotic.

So here we are– Day 4 of Advent and the only thing that has been done is the collapsing basket of Christmas books has been brought upstairs. I was feeling guilty and upset with myself and then my own book smacked me upside the head.

Please do not see this as another thing on your to do list. This guide is meant to be a
jumping off place, a one-stop shop for ideas and inspiration. It is not intended to be one
more thing to stress you out. More important than any of the doing is the striving to
create an atmosphere of peace, light, and anticipation.

If it seems overwhelming, or if the practice of keeping Advent is new to you, I would
suggest just choosing one or two things to do each week or each day. Perhaps you’ll
make or buy an Advent wreath or calendar, or maybe you’ll choose to set up a nature
table. I personally think the most important thing you can do is to follow the “inner
work” section in the Appendix, because centering yourself and understanding the “why”
behind keeping Advent is essential if you are to pass the spirit of Advent on to your

I’d also like to encourage you not to let perfection be the enemy of the good. If you can’t
afford beeswax candles or 100% wool felt, don’t let that stop you from setting up a
wreath or making a craft. Those expensive wooden Nativity figures are wonderful, but so,
too, are little table puppets made from cardboard tubes and scraps of paper. If you don’t
have time to make sugar cookie dough from scratch, the world won’t end if you buy
cookie dough in a tube.

Most of all, have a gentle Advent. In these days of cold and darkness, strive towards
warmth and light, and may it bring joy, hope, peace, and love to you and your family.
~ Seasons of Joy Advent: Lighting a Path to Christmas, p.5


So for today, I’ll do one or two small things. This post is one of them. I may get one or two more written as I play catch up. Maybe I’ll ask the children to clear the autumn and Thanksgiving things off the mantle and nature table while I’m giving lessons, and when I get home from teaching tonight, there should be just enough time for a story. Maybe one small thing on my to-do list will be to be gentle with myself.

The good news is that the sale is still on if you want to grab the e-book.

1 Comment

  1. Are you writing these posts for me? Because it feels a little like you are. Different circumstances, but similar feelings and schedule challenges going on at our home this week, too. Thank you for taking the time to write and share this.

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