As Advent dawns, I can feel my stress level rising. It’s easy to get caught up in the busyness and to forget the reason for the season. I allow myself to be overwhelmed, hurried, and anxious. So, my goal this year is to take time, breathe, and enjoy the little things. I hope to find a healthy balance among spiritual preparation, holiday activities, and time with family and friends.
Going to confession, spending time each day with Advent meditations, and finding charitable opportunities are at the top of my list. There are several on-line Catholic resources (e.g. Word on Fire and Dynamic Catholic) that email a daily Advent reflection.
In Conversation with God – Daily Meditations Volume One: Advent and Christmastide by Francis Fernandez is a wonderful resource for daily meditation.
Now from a more secular perspective, I find great joy in Christmas decorations, lights and music, baking, wrapping presents, family game nights, and Christmas movies – all kinds! I love them all, old and new from Miracle on 34th Street and Christmas in Connecticut to Elf and Christmas Vacation. But my guilty pleasure is Hallmark movies.
One will be playing in the background as I wrap presents, bake cookies, and decorate my Christmas tree. Because of my vast knowledge of these movies, I will now impart on you a bit of wisdom that I have learned from my love of these movies.
How to Find Love…According to the Hallmark Channel (in no particular order)
1. Get stranded in a Christmas town
2. Be a failing business owner
3. Be a marketing executive; get a Christmas gig
4. Get engaged; Go on a trip without your fiancé
5. Have an accident; Get amnesia
6. Be a single parent of a meddling tween
7. Inherit a house/land/business – DON’T SELL
9. Be a baker extraordinaire (or a terrible one that needs lessons from a handsome chef)
10. Pet – find one/lose one/get one
11. Be left at the altar
12. Have Santa as your dad
So, bring on the carols, sugar cookies, puzzles, cards with the family, walks through gardens adorned in millions of twinkling lights, and corny Hallmark movies. This Advent make time for the little things and find greater joy in them all by remembering that at the end of the day, Jesus is the Reason for the Season.