I glared at a box of Christmas decorations today. Actually, I glared at several cluttering my front room and general living space. I’m not feeling it. Advent is upon me and I feel put upon.
I know. These are ugly feelings for sure. Advent is a time of preparation and spiritual maintenance for the celebration of the Incarnation! However, all I can see is a laundry list of things I have to do for everyone else to have a special Christmas. Shopping, cleaning, party planning, Christmas cards, baking, decorating and don’t forget the craft projects! If Dante were writing today, one of his levels of purgatory would no doubt be Pinterest World where the craft-challenged have to spend their time repeatedly failing at the domestic arts.
Please God save me from another Facebook post where my far more talented friends pair a perfect Catholic Children’s book with a craft and afternoon snack to honor the theme from today’s liturgical calendar. I am so terribly jealous. I want to be that perfect Catholic mom, but instead I sent my kids outside to play for about three hours with a bag of popcorn. I just couldn’t parent another moment.
During Advent, the Church celebrates the Feast of Mary’s Immaculate Conception. We recall that she was conceived without original sin. If ever there was a mom standard, Mary is that person! I wonder what she was like as a mom – perfect I’m sure. What made her mothering perfect? I’m sure little Jesus didn’t write on the walls or cry non-stop because his socks itched (while also not wearing any socks). Neither did Mary have to bother with Pinterest Guilt or Social Media Shame.
Clearly, I need to take drastic measures to salvage my Advent! Holy Mary help me to open my heart to the coming of God made man! Help me to set aside my “mom envy” and focus on the spirit of the season of Advent.
I imagine Mother Mary answering in a small humble voice that God is not asking big things of me. He is asking for fidelity in small things. Small but true acts of devotion showing authentic love.
Forget the perfectly placed ornaments and mouthwatering holiday spreads! Reject the pressure and expectation to please four children with the hottest gifts this season. Once again this year the family Christmas card will likely arrive in time for Valentines Day, and it is ok. It really is ok.
So, this Advent our family rosary will be more prayerful and focused. Our prayers before the meal will not be rushed. The advent candles will be front and center at every dinner. We will raise our voices louder when singing at Mass, and we will keep the confessional occupied. Daily Mass will be a priority.
To all the moms out there feeling overwhelmed and inadequate this Advent, I hear you. Let’s reclaim this time of spiritual preparation. Focus on the small humble acts of devotion and let the concerns of the ego and the world go. Let Mary help you find the humility needed this time of year.
I offer my love to Jesus through Mary. May God Bless you all this Advent season!