I failed at Advent this year.

We forgot about the Advent calendar, after making a big deal of it. Obviously AJ didn’t care—there are other ways to mark the season (watching Christmas movies almost every day—How the Grinch Stole Christmas has been the favorite this year). But I feel bad looking at all those empty days of chocolate that we didn’t take the time to mark a day of waiting for Christmas.

And my poor Advent candles. I lit the first purple candle the day before the second Sunday, because I was having the ladies of the church over for our annual Christmas lunch and realized I never lit the candle all week. I lit the second candle the following Friday before a Christmas party, and never lit the others. Notice now how they sit, unlit, next to leftover lunch on the table.

A few years ago, my husband and I created an Advent family tradition—we would light the candle(s) appropriate for that week, read a selection from an Advent devotional, and turn off all electronics for a while. We decided not to make it a strict event—if something came up and we missed a day, we missed a day. If we had fifteen minutes one night and an hour the next, no matter. We are both clergy, we know it is a busy season, and it was important for us that we made the effort, not that it became a measure of how well we were celebrating Advent.

Last year we didn’t get many candles lit, either, but we at least did the Advent calendar with AJ. This year, a big oops. #AdventEpicFail

However, today is Christmas Eve. The tree is up. There are gifts. There is candlelight singing tonight. Christmas is coming tomorrow, whether we lit the candles or at the chocolate, or didn’t do any of it. Christmas is almost here.

Advent is the season of “coming into view.” We know that Christ has come and Christ will come again, into our world, and into our lives in a new way. We know that Advent is the expectant watching and waiting for signs of Christ’s return. And Advent reminds us that this isn’t a once-a-year event, but rather something we ought to be doing all year long, at every moment.

So perhaps we will light the candles over the next week, and allow AJ to eat the chocolate during Christmastide (there are twelve days of Christmas, though most of us forget that and take our tree down December 26th) and light the Christ candle on Epiphany (January 6th) instead. Perhaps we will be reminded that the spirit of Christmas lives in all of us beyond this season, beyond the commercialization and hustle and bustle.

Maybe we didn’t fail at Advent, but rather, we are still watching and waiting.

Merry Christmas, everyone.

Blessings, Mindi

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