Back in November, I listened to an old Fountains of Carrots podcast episode about Advent…and was struck with the humbling realization that not only had I never really paid much attention to Advent besides lighting my Advent candles, I also didn’t want to. The hosts of the podcast discussed not fully decorating their trees, not listening to Christmas music, and keeping seasonal parties and movies to a minimum throughout Advent, focusing instead on traditions centered around preparing and waiting for Christmas. All of those festivities that I’ve come to jump into as soon as I woke up the day after Thanksgiving? They began on December 25, the actual start of the Christmas season in the liturgical calendar.
Ugh, I thought, I don’t want to do that!
And then, God began to work on my heart.
December 2017 was a little crazy for us. After a sweet experience doing an “at-home Christmas” before traveling the year before, we decided to do the same thing again, but the only weekend day that worked out was the 9th. So, we bought and decorated our tree, decked the halls in our house, and gave gifts to each other and Charlie only a week into December. A few weeks later, in New York, coordinating a big family meant we celebrated “Christmas morning” three more times…with December 25th being the last one. Don’t get me wrong, we were so grateful to celebrate each one and had a lot of fun! But, as we drove home a few days later, Dave and I realized we both had a nagging feeling that we had essentially skipped Advent.
We were both raised Catholic and have been committed to our faith for years and years, but for the first time, we found ourselves deeply convicted by the fact that the seasons of the liturgical calendar exist for a reason. God in His infinite wisdom gave us the gift of each season to draw us closer to Him in unique ways, and how many graces and lessons have we been missing by not completely embracing that? How many opportunities to know God more and to glorify Him and thank Him for all He has done, is doing, and will do?
This year, we’re committed to truly living liturgically. To diving into the seasons and feast days that the Catholic Church blesses us with and celebrating them individually. I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I am about this, and how much I hope it sets the tone for the rest of our lives. Since this will very much be informing and inspiring the way we celebrate different holidays throughout the year (something I’ve always loved blogging about!), you’ll be seeing some faith-based traditions incorporated into more posts moving forward. One challenge I’m experiencing so far is that many guides to liturgical living I’ve found are focused on young families (suggestions for children’s books, coloring pages, etc.), and while I will 100% take advantage of that someday, I’m sincerely hoping to discover ways to celebrate well in the season of life I’m in (with traditions that single people and couples without kids could easily adopt as well).
If this is something that interests you or if there is anything in particular you’d like to see on this topic throughout the year, please let me know! I would love to share some great conversations with y’all about it. And, of course, if you have any favorite resources, I’m all ears!