Monday, November 26, 2007

The Loveliness of Preparing to Prepare

I confess: the reason I wanted to host this Loveliness Fair is that I am in love with liturgical year ideas as are many of the women in the 4Real community who are the main participants in these fairs. I figured this fair would be a bonanza of liturgical year ideas and I didn't want to miss any of them. I'm an obsessive planner and this was to be an oh-so-indulgent blog post.

Many good ideas arrived in my inbox but also several timely reminders not to overdo, not to seek perfection, and not to let Advent get away from us in the mad dash towards Christmas. With that in mind . . .

I'm a huge fan of the O Antiphons--said with Evening Prayer from December 17-24 each year. As we get to that part of our family prayer life each year I dream about various beautiful ways to include them in our home during Advent. The biggest reason I haven't done anything is that I can never decide if my O Antiphon tribute should be done in English or Latin. Sally at Fine Old Famly offers what she planned to do last year and what she ended up doing and it all sounds beautiful. And, I hope Sally doesn't mind if I point you to some of her more recent posts on making her home "fair as she is able."

If reading about ornaments and O Antiphon houses gets you in a crafty mood, do stop by and visit the ever-creative-and-organized Dawn at By Sun and Candlelight. I'm terribly envious of Dawn's window and I'm thinking, perhaps, of dressing up our roman-shade decked windows with cards this year. Marianne at Learning to Love is also trying to keep herself organized by sharing her list of Advent plans. I'm looking forward to teaching my kids Christmas carols on musical instruments some day, too! If you're like me and your crafting skills are a bit lacking and you are on a budget, Cay at Cajun Cottage Under the Oaks has a few ideas to consider.

Prone to discouragement as I am--especially in the face of the highly organized--I am very glad to see that Elizabeth at Real Learning is sharing some of her non-blog Advent and Christmas writings with us. Elizabeth's writing never fails to inspire and encourage me. If you are feeling overwhelmed as you face the season this is the place to go. Do make sure to click through to read Elizabeth's story of last year's Christmas tree. Cay also offers a timely reminder from John Greenleaf Whittier to look to others this Advent and Christmas.

For my part, I always hope to get the more mundane side of prepare done before Advent arrives. Every year I hope to do a major housecleaning leading up to the first Sunday of Advent. Our family tries very hard to save Christmas for Christmas. The tree goes up the 23rd and is decorated Christmas Eve. I'll bake but we try not to eat the goodies until Christmas. Gifts are saved until Christmas morning, of course, and the opening is stretched out until New Year's, at least. I want Advent to be a time of quiet, reflection, extra prayer, and snuggling close as a family. It sounds like Cheryl at My Thoughtful Spot shares these desires and is planning to follow the advice of her family to snuggle together this Advent.

There are lots and lots of great Advent ideas out there in the blogosphere and at 4Real. It's tempting for me, I know, to rush around trying to fill up the season for my three-year old who is really ready for a bit of structure. I actually considered making (this week) a Jesse Tree quilt complete with a few dozen cloth symbols and an equal number of buttons and buttonholes to affix them. Then I remembered how burned out and snippy and not very reflective/prayerful/quiet/snuggly that would be. Maybe next year. If I start in January. Go look at all the great ideas out there, but remember to pray, hold your family close, and await the Christ Child in peace.

God Bless!

Here's another contribution that came in from Ruth at Just Another Day in Paradise. She has lots of great ideas for celebrating Advent and the feasts in December. Lots of links just in her post!


Maryan said...

Thanks for posting Susan!! I'm *still* preparing to prepare (LOL) -- I'm never on time for these Lives of Loveliness fairs!! So this is great food for thought!

Cindy said...

Very nice job Susan. Thanks for sharing this wealth of knowledge with us.

Cay said...

Lovely job, Susan. :)

Cheryl said...

Great job, Susan!

Britt-Arnhild said...

Hi Susan.
What a joy to find your blog and thereby find a fellow lover of advent and lover of celebrating the year of the church.

In my blog I have invited to an advent party the coming Saturday, and from then on I will open my advent basket every morning untill Christmas.

Welcome over.

Mrs. T said...

Beautiful! I'm linking back to this from my blog.

Dawn said...

Wonderful, Susan! Thanks so much for putting this together. :)

Ruth said...

Thank you for adding mine at the last minute. You did a great job putting this together.