I have a fondness for German advent calendars, having spent four happy childhood Christmases in Germany where my dad was stationed. This calendar pictured above is much like those I remember. We opened a little window each day, and the culmination was the church doors opening Christmas Eve to a manger scene.
This is a great metaphor for our own Advent celebrations. Each day should open onto a happy scene, looking forward to the big event, the appearance of the Christ child Himself.
Since this is obviously true, we should determine that all our Advent celebrations will be about joy and with joy. Look at your list of things to do each day, and determine to do each one with joy. If fact, if you can’t do it with joy, scratch it off the list. Joylessness is out of place. It would be like opening a window on the Advent calendar to find a troll.
It’s easy to excuse a lot of fussing over the massive pile of gifts to buy and wrap, cookies to bake, cards to mail, trees to put up and decorate, and all the rest. But pause for a moment. Each day opens up looking forward to the appearance of the Child. Joyful anticipation should be building.
Take joy with you in every task. Bestow it on every preparation. And remember, if you can’t do it with joy, don’t do it at all.