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Finding Harmony in Advent: Day 6

December 6, 2013
Tropical Palm

Tropical Palm

What to Do When There are Too Many Places to Go

There were so many people coming and going that Jesus and his disciples didn’t even have time to eat. So he said to them, “Let us go off by ourselves to some place where we will be alone and you can rest a while.” Mark 6:31

Christmas and children go together, but once they get to age five and up you can run yourself ragged keeping up with their special events and activities during the early days of December. I well remember when our children were spaced out in elementary, middle and high school, and we had choir and band programs for all three schools, Christmas parades and tree lighting ceremonies, as well as individual music recitals. The going was constant.

One year I even drove 100 miles each way to help my daughter and her cohorts get from their drama festival competition to tryouts for district choir all before 8 a.m. I was telling that story to my hairdresser when another hairdresser talked about rushing from one ballgame to the next, taking in only parts of each in order to put in a little appearance as needed.

We all do (or have done) these things, but maybe it is okay to say, “I don’t have to go to everything you are in. I will come to so many games or recitals, but there are things I need to do, too.” (The kids may not care as much as you think, and they’ll get used to it.)

There is probably no better time of year to hear this message then December. Sure, you want to be there for your kids. You want to see when they sing, play, dance, or score that goal. There will be things you will miss. But it won’t be the end of the world, as long as you and they know that you love and support them. Don’t feel guilty about not going to everything that is on the calendar.

During these Advent days of waiting and watching for Christmas, take some time to just let something go. Cancel a committee meeting, or take off from work early. Grab some time to just relax, unwind, and enjoy Christmas. Take some time just to be, for inner harmony. Find a palm tree (figuratively, in the North) and breath deeply.

As Doris Janzen Longacre wrote as she was dying of cancer at the age of 39, “Life is too short to worry about  getting ready for Christmas. Just let Christmas come.”

How do you deal with an overloaded schedule in December?
What have you skipped? Any memorable stories?


The photos each day in this Advent series feature figures from a handmade advent calendar I picked up long ago at a yard sale. It quickly became the kids’ favorite, and a permanent addition to our Advent collection and celebrations. I hope you enjoy watching the parade of characters on this virtual advent calendar. Next week I’ll add a picture of the actual calendar so you can see how this thing comes together. Sign up to follow the blog so you don’t miss any!


Parts of this reflection first appeared as an editorial in the magazine Living, which I serve as editor.


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  1. Caro-Claire Wiles permalink

    This is so true.
    We do get caught up with thbusiness and try to get everything worked in , in such a short time and arrrive at the day exhausted.
    Your quote from Doris Janzen Longacre really hit home right now as a dear friend of ours who has valiently fought the fight withcancer for the past four years just entered into hopsce care on Wenesday.
    They do not know if he will be here for Chirtmas, so yes they will just let it come and make the most of their remaining days together as a family who is greiving together.
    So many are praying for them right now as we have been for so longfor his healing Now he awasits the ultimate healing.
    God bless

    • I am sorry to hear of your friend and his family, that is really rough especially at this time of year. Thanks for sharing. I’m sure they are comforted to have a friend like you. Blessings to you as you walk along side of them.

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