Thanks to Hallmark for the candles and my daughter for the greenery, I feel much better about Advent beginning now. Our Advent rituals pretty much consist of lighting the candles every night and singing one verse of "O Come O Come Emmanuel". That is about all we can handle on a consistent basis.
A number of years ago I gave up on planning the "perfect" Advent. I used to have my list of all the things we were going to do and I would imagine the peacefulness that would reign in our home and hearts.
As I said, I pretty much gave up on all of that a long time ago. I have decided that my Advent will be precisely what God wants my Advent to be. So far this year it has entailed missing daily mass all week because of sick kids and a messed up schedule because we've all been sleeping later (due to the fact that some of us haven't been sleeping much at night :)
On the upside of that, I've had to stay home a lot more than I normally would and so, in a way, it has been peaceful...well that is, in between the temperature taking, the cold rags, the medicine and other unpleasantness.
I always hope that by the time Christmas comes around my heart will be somewhat better prepared to receive the Lord. What I've come to realize is that the more I abandon my desires to God, the closer I come to having that peace in my heart.
Happy First Week Of Advent to y'all!