This is my Camino. Welcome.

4 Unconventional Advent Actions

I went to fifteen stores on Saturday. FIFTEEN. Want to know why? Because I hadn’t done any Christmas shopping prior to that, and at this point time is of the essence! 🙂 What do I have to show for that? Well, a few blisters. But also, I was just like, “I don’t want to do this again. This is my one shot, and I want it to be OVER.

So, yeah.

Sans one individual…at this point: everyone has a gift. Yay. Confetti.

BUT THAT’S NOT THE PURPOSE OF THIS POST. The purpose of this post is: 4 unconventional things you can do to make Advent a tiny bit more meaningful.

Actually, you don’t need to do this. I’m doing them, though, and liking them.

“Unconventional” because I 110% support praying the traditional Christmas novena and reading the words of the prophets and listening to liturgically-appropriate songs and what not. But, these are quirky things that I do that I find helpful.

Bracelet charmmmmm
Bracelet charmmmmm

1. Wear Christmas swag.
Purists (coughAndrewcough) will point out that it’s not Christmas yet, and, the purists are right…it’s not. But, we are preparing our hearts for Christmas. And I find my heart gets a bit more celebratory when I purposely wear my Christmas-y jewelry.

I have one bracelet in particular. My mom gave let me borrow it a few years ago, and I never gave it back (I think that means that it’s mine now?). Anyway. It has a tiny Christmas scene on it, and a tiny Christmas star, and the word “noel” across the top. Somehow, wearing this simple piece of particular-holiday jewelry is enough to remind me that: hey, this time is different, this time is special.

I put it on every Advent now, and wear it through the end of the season. I think it’s simple and beautiful and I love the silver reminder of: treasure it, chica, treasure it all.

2. Read The Bronze Bow.
I told you that these were unconventional. Anyway, I think I first read this book in middle school, which tells you that it isn’t a super challenging read, then, doesn’t it? It did win a Newberry Medal, though, and I would really vouch for Speare’s excellent writing style (lady, why did you not write more books??! I love every one of them!)

Is it about Jesus? Kiiiind of. It follows the life of a few Jewish young people anxiously waiting the Messiah. They’re in a time of unrest, tense about their futures, angry at the Romans, and searching desperately for a sign from God. I enjoy this book because I think it just really explains the walk of faith. Not everyone gets angels who are like, “OKAY, SO THERE IS A BABY IN A MANGER AND HE IS WRAPPED IN SWADDLING CLOTHES AND HE IS THE SON OF GOD SO GO OVER THERE AND TALK TO HIM.” No, no, most of us don’t get that grace. Most of us are more like the kids in this book like, “Wait…God? Where are you working right now?”

Yes. Advent. You have a few days left. If you can read this blog, you can read at the middle-school level required for this book.

And then, once you’re done…tell me. I’d love to discuss.

I adore their confused, yet waiting and hopeful hearts. I adore their puzzlement over the work of Jesus, the hand of God. I value their, “Wait! God, don’t you want to do things the way that I think is best???” attitude. Ach. Love.

3. Violently throw yourself at some seasonally-appropriate art
I get it–you’re busy. You’re buying and making and giving and bustling. And–that’s good! That’s how celebrating comes about.

But, in the midst of that, when you get a chance, take a moment to really look at a beautiful picture of the nativity or really sing through an ancient carol–one of the ones full of haunting truths. Just for a few seconds…ahhhhh.

I went to a singalong concert on Sunday. Not because I have a lot of free time right now (I DON’T), but because I wanted to sing songs like “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” and “O Little Town of Bethlehem.”


Do you have a song that just stirs your heart? Lyrics that make your eyes widen and your heart pound? I’m reading those comments, yo.

4. Wait.
So, this weekend, halfway through my 15 stores, I was at JoAnn fabrics which is, for the record, one of the worst stores for lines, because shoppers are required to wait in a primary line (long and long and long) to have their fabric cut and then a SECOND line (even longer) to buy the goods. So, here I am in line like, “Welllllll, here goes a half hour,” and I pulled out my phone like, “Escape time!” but then I was like, “Nah,” and I put my phone away. I tried to be present. I tried to be patient. I tried to wait.

Honestly, it kind of sucked.

But, I found myself more aware of my surroundings, more engaged. And I was kind of like, “Well, Advent is supposed to be about waiting, isn’t it?”

I liked that. I think I’ll try to keep my phone away more. I’ll try to stay a little uncomfortable for the sake of the season. Wait, wait, wait. Wait for the Lord.

Well!! That’s all I’ve got for you today, friends! What about you–what things do you do to prepare your hearts for beebee Jesus?

M and J

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