Day 1: Celtic Advent

November 15
Celtic Advent Begins

If you skip ahead and read below, you will see that I had a bright idea last night that I will blog about Celtic Advent, even though I swore no new projects this year. Sounds a lot like the beginning of my Forty Forts project. I found a WordPress Plugin that allows you to clone your pages. So I made forty drafts last night in about thirty minutes, during which time I went through various stages of thinking this is a good and bad idea. Right now, I think that it was a mistake. But hey, at this point, it would take me more work to delete the drafts than to just post a picture each day and write something. Or skip writing altogether.

I apologize in advance for the Christmas decoration image that will be featured in every post. No, we do not have a tree up yet. Granted our toy nativities are already the hot play toys in our house. We will be lucky if one of the three Baby Jesus figures exists by Christmas.

So here is goes…

Visit a beautiful spot in or near your home. Breathe and listen. How is God preparing you for Christ’s birth?

I took this picture yesterday when I was excited about the project. I was intrigued that the first task was to focus on a point in your home. I spent all of this work focused on my home. I typically have one main focus area a week, like a certain art project or deadline. This week was all about our house.

Early Sunday morning, I kept thinking about how I should move two of the shelves from Oliver’s bedroom into my studio. If I line them up, I can stick rolls of paper out of them. That one idea cascaded into shifting things around quite a bit in our home. Mainly the crib, my grandfather’s desk and several end tables. But after two and a half years, things finally feel like they are in their place. Now I can hang pictures and curtains and find peace.

We also had our storm windows installed yesterday. For a couple of months, I thought this is cash in our basement. Last year’s gas bills were frightening. Last night the heat cut off on its own and my nose never turned icy cold. So finally we feel cozy with a sweater and slippers. I guess we are all settled in.

Today we had a few little friends over. Lucy hosted a birthday party for her stuffed dog Stella. At some point, Lucy found the bag of Downtown DC Kids balloons in the closet. We blew up several dozen as party entertainment. While Henry was giving the kids a bath, I looked at the day’s suggestion for the Celtic Advent. Crap. I had not spent any time in that spot all day. I was thinking I really don’t want to do this. But I thought something good must come from all of this resistance. So I went and sat in the corner in the dark.

What is God preparing me for Christ’s birth?

And there I could see it. This chair is in the spot of a spectator in our living room, like an audience in a play. And the only light was the dining room lantern hanging above a table full of balloons. It was beautiful and playful and childlike all in one. This is the first year of a handful when the kids will really get Christmas. Just like Oliver got Halloween after about three houses. And it will be so exciting and magical. My hope is that as I have put things away that were spilling forth in their new and long-overdue homes, we will find peace and joy in our surroundings. It is a magical time of short days and cozy nights where we can all snuggle up with one another and love and sing and play and laugh. I hope that we can keep this season calm and peaceful to help us celebrate this time together.

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This Advent Season, I am going to attempt to practice Ideas for Living Joyfully: Forty Days of Celtic Advent and the Twelve Days of Christmas 2014 by Susan Forshey. I intend to create all forty posts in advance and then add in pictures from Instagram or thoughts each day as I go along. But if I don’t post anything, it is because life got in the way. Which is fine and expected. You can still read Susan’s suggestions for the day. I don’t want this to become another To Do. I especially love Susan’s directions.

Practice Grace. No need to do them all or every day. Let the Holy Spirit speak to your heart!

I love how gracious Susan is in her description of this project:

For each day, from November 15 until Epiphany, I’ve thought of one thing I can do to practice joy and gratitude, and to give love, putting it on a calendar that draws on ancient Advent and Christmas traditions.

… (more about the three traditions she is drawing from here) …

The ability to give and experience love and joy doesn’t just happen, it needs to be stretched and strengthened. And over time, the capacity to love and to joy increases.

Let the Holy Spirit lead!

Please join along!

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