A word on the holiday season from Ashlyn:
Entering into the holiday season already has me feeling anxious. There are so many events to go to and gifts to buy. This year to try and calm my anxiety I'm exploring the Way of Love's theme of "REST".
I heard someone suggest trying to have all the shopping done before Advent begins so that you can fully focus on the season. I love this idea! Admittedly, it will be a bit easier for me to follow; I don’t have a huge list of people to shop for. But rest can be created in so many different ways. You could find moments for yourself to relax (for example: with tea in hand doing the Advent journal with us. See below!). You could take a walk to admire the beauty of God’s creation. You could try to keep the holidays more simple (I know I get so overwhelmed when I go on Pinterest or Instagram and see all the different ways I could decorate). Rest will look different for all of us and no matter how you choose to rest it is so important for each of us this holiday season.
How will you rest and keep the season of Advent intentional?
A word on the holiday season from Kay+:
As December approaches, it’s easy to get caught in the hustle of buying the “perfect” gift for each person on your list. If you’re like me, and you need this reminder, hear me say, You don’t need to do that.
For your own sake, and for the sake of the Holy One whose coming we anticipate, let yourself be free from frantic consumerism.
If you choose to give gifts this time of year, let it be with love. Give handmade gifts. Support local artisans. Buy fair trade. Order online from organizations that support a cause. Celebrate someone you love by making a donation in their honor to a charitable organization. Take a name from a giving tree.
I’m not trying to stress you out by offering more things to think about during this time of year. (As Ashlyn points out, the voice of love calls us into rest, even as we engage ourselves in the holy work of Advent). Instead, I hope you’ll find freedom in simplifying, and in giving gifts with purpose.
Over the past few years, as I've been more intentional about my Advent preparations, I have felt a sense of delight in giving gifts that honor the dignity of workers, show respect for the earth, and support the well being of my neighbors near and far. After all, Advent is the season when we wait with active hope for the fulfillment of God’s kingdom. So, in all the ways we observe the season of holy anticipation, let us work and watch and wait for the reign of love by enthusiastically participating in God’s vision for the flourishing of all life.