Show of hands: who’s feeling the push and panic of the holidays? That would be both hands up for me. I have purchased exactly one present so far. One.

And yes, the stockings are hung by the chimney with care, but we kind of lost steam with the tree after an initial burst of decorating. It’s still angel-less and surrounded by hideous brown bins of ornaments from the attic. If I wrap the bins, they could stand in for the absent presents.

But that’s not really how I want to think about Christmas. I’m refusing to let it become some fake production I have to pull together, some magic I must make happen.

No, instead, I want one thing to be at the top of my Christmas list this year: God’s presence.

Actually, that’s my challenge to all of us as we head into this next month: Will we make room for God’s presence and will we wait with joyful expectation for Him to arrive on the scene?

A few thoughts, then, from an Advent series I vlogged last year on preparing our hearts to meet the challenge. Pour a cup of coffee, set the calendar and to-do list aside, and join me.

P.S. One thing I’m doing to help me focus more intentionally is using Advent-oriented devotional books during my quiet times. I just started reading Liz Curtis Higgs’ The Women of Christmas: Experience the Season Afresh with Elizabeth, Mary, and Anna. My friend Dena has also written a great one that has short, hope-filled devotions for each day of December: Lighten the Darkness: An Advent Journey Through HopeCheck both of them out at the affiliate links above or add your own suggestions for Advent devotionals in the comments section.

 

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