Advent is a special time of year for our family. It’s considered to be an important time of spiritual renewal but also a time for more practical renewal and resetting. Being the final month of the year means it’s a good time to pause and do some things that we have perhaps been putting off.
Did I just say pause?! At the craziest time of the year?
And precisely because it’s the craziest time of the year. We need to take the time to recalibrate and remember what is most important in our lives. Each year, along with the spiritual renewal, I try and carve out some time for practical renewal which – funnily enough – usually filters through as a result of the spiritual. You see, the more work we do on our heart and soul, the more we’re pushed to make changes on the outside that reflect what’s happening on the inside.
So this year, I’ve put together an Advent challenge which I’d love you to join me in.
There will be several challenges each week, which you can do all at once or over a few days – whatever works. Some of the challenges may seem really simple, others a bit tougher, but they’re all designed to help simplify life as we head into what will hopefully be another full trip around the sun.
If you’re joining in, I’d love to see your progress and inspirations – just use tag #2018adventchallenge.
Task 1: Present cupboard cull
We’re doing this one nice and early so that our unused gifts can be put to good use.
If you’re anything like me, you have a present cupboard (or shelf) that has goodness-knows-what in it. It’s time to go through it and see what we can use this year. If there’s something that’s been sitting there a while and you can’t see it being used any time soon, just donate it. It’s still a few weeks till Christmas and you never know what good your unused gift could do for someone else. If there’s a whole bunch of stuff there and you feel it has some value, try selling it and use the money where it’s needed in your life.
Task 2: Commitments cull
Sit down for 10 minutes with your calendar and cull any unnecessary commitments from the coming month. Just because you’d been invited, doesn’t mean you have to go. Just because it’s “the done thing”, doesn’t mean you have to do it. The only way to curb the craziness of this time of year is to calmly but actively take control of it. Make sure there is plenty of white space in the calendar for the unexpected goodness that might crop up.
Task 3: Meal share
Make a meal for a friend, neighbour or family member or simply invite them over to share a meal with you. Not in a crazy clean-the-house-top-to-bottom-formal-dinner-party sense… just friends coming together for a meal and some fellowship. Because it’s easy to get to the end of any day, week, month and realise we’ve been too busy to properly connect with others.