What I really need right now is cleanliness. I need to set my inner and outer landscapes in order: throw out the clutter that’s piling up, scrub the stains, and bleach everything that can be bleached. In terms of my house, that means less crafts and less adorable, liturgically-appropriate activities, and more purging. In terms of my soul, it means less noise, less distraction, and more prayer, more listening, more waiting.
If I fill my Advent with crafts and activities, no matter how meaningful or focused on my children’s religious education they are, I’ve missed the point of the season by the very act of filling. Advent needs to be a time of emptying, of vacancy, and of waiting. It’s a time of clearing out everything from your life that is taking up the space the tiny Infant should hold, and that’s something not easily translated into tangible actions.
Maybe someday I will be the sort of person who doesn’t need the emergency preparation session every year before Christmas. Maybe someday I’ll be far enough on the road to heaven that I haven’t allowed clutter and junk and mess to build up in my life, reaching epic proportions right before the Nativity. If that ever happens, maybe I will gather my children around the table for some daily Advent activities and crafts that help further the lessons. But I’m not there yet – not by a long shot.
So for now, I’ll keep slogging through Thanksgiving dishes, begging Christ to drop a bleach bomb on my soul, and maybe if I’m feeling really ambitious, I’ll teach the kids this song, and they can do their own interpretive dance.