There are probably some people who feel that the whole of Christmas is one big sacrifice, with all of it’s rushing around to decorate, buy gifts, go to parties, etc. We say we love Christmas, and then go crazy with so many things to do, places to go, people to see!
I’m going to make a bit of a ‘sacrifice’ here, by admitting how weirdly organized I am! I have a chart with a row for each week of Advent (or more specifically—the four weeks before Christmas), with columns for the week’s theme, the fragrance (gotta set the mood!), the special treat for that week, the main busy thing to do, and the restful thing to do.
You think the busy things can’t be divided into 4 weeks? The main ones are: decorating, Christmas cards, shopping, and wrapping; and it doesn’t mean those things aren’t done other weeks, but they get concentrated on and mostly completed in their own week. The ‘restful’ things are things like doing puzzles, reading last year’s cards, watching a movie. (The baking I try to get done in October/November—freezers are great things.)
It takes time to get organized in the beginning, but wouldn’t it be worth it to escape the feeling that you’re ‘working so hard at your play’? There’s even so much beautiful Christmas music to listen to (who needs to be stressed about that?) that I—don’t laugh—yes, all my Christmas music is divided into weeks! That one starts 6 weeks before, there’s so much of it.
Okay, so I’ve made my confession. Does it really work? Well, for the times when it doesn’t seem to be, we can fall back on that analogy of Advent being like preparing for a “long-lost friend”. As my friend Nancy commented, “It helps to focus upon the reason behind all the busyness and preparations, and that it can be truly honouring to Jesus to prepare to bless my loved ones when I do it with my eyes fixed upon Him.”