The days are short and packed. Advent seems much shorter as an adult than it did as a kid, I’ll tell ya 😉. I’m working on my energy levels, but these days it is a struggle. I recently got back a few disappointing medical tests, indicating that my autoimmune condition is not doing as well as I had hoped, and while I suspected as much, but it was worse than I thought. However, I am very grateful for the resources I have with medication, helpful advisors, and my supportive family. While I plan strategies for improving my symptoms, I’m thankful for the distraction of all our fun advent activities.
Our advent morning basket is one of the easiest to plan for since there are so many fun Christmas projects and learning activities! This is the advent calendar that I made when C was a baby. We put our Jesse Tree ornaments in the pockets, as well as a little card that has a Christmas carol to sing each day and a random act of kindness to perform. The pieces of our nativity scene are also spread out over the pockets so Pickle can add them to the stable that we have set up.
Our elf Otto will sometimes bring something fun to do in the morning, like wooden ornaments to paint, or hot cocoa to make, and a new one this year is wooden gingerbread houses to assemble and paint! Nothing like a fun activity to start school off on the right foot. Otto is so smart and knows when I am feeling low ebb and it seems like he always has a activity handy for that day 😉 .
School can be so fun! A new project I’ve added to the morning basket this year is a fold out interactive booklet that describes the Catholic 12 days of Christmas. We are loving it! You can find it here on Teachers Pay Teachers. They work a little bit on it each day and will be done by the last recitation of year so that they can show Husband.
Of course we are still working through our Catholic symbols book, focusing on the particular symbols and imagery found around Advent and Christmas, such as the Christmas tree, the (Roman Rite) advent wreath, and the Magi.
We use the Byzantine Advent wreath that is shaped as a star and marks the weeks of the St. Philip’s Fast, which is a longer period of Advent than the Roman rite. Lighting the candles is a tradition that usually takes place at dinner each evening and has its own set of prayers with it. However, the big kids are in faith formation class through our Roman rite parish so as homework they are also filling in this wreath during our morning basket time.
Besides all our fun Advent activities and traditions in our morning basket we continue with our regular math flash cards, state/capitol flash cards, gospel cds, and our art history book. Whew! It sounds like a lot, but it really only takes about an hour or hour and a half to do all our morning basket activities.
This past fall was difficult for me physically, and now it seems that the winter will be too. And while I am discouraged that all my efforts have not improved my symptoms, I am also profoundly grateful for my life, subpar health and all. I have more capabilities and freedom than many people with autoimmune conditions. It feels contrary to be discouraged and grateful but I think physical suffering brings profound grace. Each day I take a walk with my kids in the fresh air and think, “This is such a gift and I will miss this so much someday”. It is those peaceful little moments that is more than enough to get me through any tough times I am having. I look forward to many small peaceful moments this Advent season and I hope you do too.