I’ve had perhaps the worst Advent in the history of ever in terms of doing what I set out to do. Though the kids have checked the Advent calendar each day, we have a to-do pile of the things we haven’t done. (So, on second thought, more candy, less to-do things on that list for next year…)

While we’ve mostly remembered to put up a new figure on our Nativity Advent Calendar, it hasn’t been without some a few “oh look kids, three days’ worth to do” moments.

I didn’t replace my Advent candles, but it turns out that was no big deal…the wreath’s only been lit once or twice in the entirety of Advent.

The straw in the barn for Baby Jesus? Well, we’re going to give him some blankets and a space heater, because that has been a big fat failure.

We were without a furnace from Thanksgiving until Friday, December 19. (But boy, do I ever appreciate that automatic heat now that it’s back!) And then I had an Attack of the Killer Sinuses that seemed to top the other drama-induced circumstances (I’m not even going to list them all here) like a cherry on top of a sundae.

Somehow, I made it to confession, and through this whole dramatic four-week stretch, I’ve kept an inner calm and peace that can only be from God.

This week, I find myself reflecting on something that struck me when I was speaking to a group of teens a few weeks ago about Mary: Christmas means hope. And we can all see it. (More about that over at Integrated Catholic Life today.)

We can’t help but see it, even if we’re not paying attention. We can’t help but respond to it, even if it’s just once a year.

Hope. It’s what our world needs. And every year, we’re reminded.


(That last link goes to today’s post at Integrated Catholic Life, “Full Pews Mean There’s Still Hope,” in which I expound about this very thought, with less of the “here’s how I failed Advent big time” stuff.)