Slow, Sweet, Sacred, and Intentional
I'm sitting here in "my spot" in the corner of our family room sectional. It's nap time for the toddler, mandated quiet time for everyone else, and for the moment my home is actually quite peaceful. And so I'm sitting here, refusing to allow perfectionism and all the other hangups to keep me from writing here as it so often does.
Those four words above embody what I want right now in my life and my home, though it often feels a bit beyond my grasp. The holiday season is pretty intense isn't it? We find ourselves preparing for various festivities, along with the impending end of another year. For me, it always means a full work schedule—November and December are unfailingly my busiest shooting months of the year—constantly at odds with the celebrations and hopes I have for the holidays. For a month and a half I feel like I'm constantly bouncing from sessions to dinner prep to homeschooling to editing to parenting to gift wrapping to this event or that one... and then finally there is a lull of sorts. I always look forward to that—the winding down, the looking inward. It's what I crave most about this season. This year I'm especially grateful for it, as I'm toting around an additional small person under my shirt, and that's kind of exhausting. While I don't have a fireplace, and we often still have weather in the 80's still in December, in my heart I still long for warmth—for candles and mugs of warm drinks, for cushy socks and curling up with books, and slow days without pressing obligations and stress.
Below the surface, what I'm really craving is sacredness and depth of meaning in this season. In my mind's eye it may look like those tangible things, but in my heart the warmth I long for is so much more. And sometimes seeking that can feel like an uphill struggle against rampant materialism and all that society says about what Christmas is. I long for simplicity for myself and my family in the midst of this "more, more, more" culture. And it is possible. It is there.
More than anything else, I've found this meaning and sacredness in the observance of advent. In reflecting on the life I've been given, and anticipating the fullness of all that is to come, this entire month is basked in a deep gratitude. It brings everything into new perspective, and everything else I do this month flows from there.
Why Christmas? Because through it ancient promises were fulfilled. Because through it the veil was then torn in two. Because through it, all that is broken will be made whole. It is part of a much bigger story, The Story, which is still playing out, and brings the only true hope I know of to a hopeless world. And in that hope is the deepest warmth.
(If you're looking for an amazing advent resource, Slow + Sacred Advent is what we've used for two years now, and I love it.)