I've been "keeping advent" this season in the way one might keep the Sabbath or Lent -- intentionally under scheduling, decluttering, opting out of historic holiday obligations, fasting -- and I think it's having an effect. All this advent keeping makes me long for the feasting of Christmas. I eagerly yearn for Monday when all heaven breaks loose to celebrate Christ's advent on earth.
Advent keeping has also allowed me to be still and recognize patterns that have played out over the last year. 2023 has been tough. I wonder who else feels this; I know I'm alone in feeling the weight of an unpredictable world. My very body tells the tale of stress and years of inattention as I work through intense lower back pain. Vocationally I've strained toward product-market fit with Empowered Together's marketplace. I'm left longing for a co-laborer in this effort. While I remain deeply grateful for my family, I feel the pressures of parenting a child with a disability. Some of those pressures are to be expected (eg; lacking sleep) and some are less talked about (eg; addressing the mental health needs of all family members, creating beauty out of our story).
Where does this leave us? Assuming that you, too, have things you'd like to lay down in 2023, it leaves us yearning for newness, for celebration, for hope. It leaves us exactly where advent is meant to leave us, yearning for a Savior. As seemingly unseasonal as advent keeping has been, I need this wintering time of inspecting each arena of my life for how it integrates with the rest, of reflecting on my need for salvation. If you, too, are feeling pulled towards quiet and introspection to make sense of your life, to make sense of the world, join me in keeping advent.