Monday, November 12, 2018

Preparing for Advent

Yesterday I made a trip into Minneapolis.

From where I live in NE South Dakota, Minneapolis/St. Paul, which we call the Twin Cities, is the nearest big city - and it's about four hours away. I can get to the western edge of the metropolitan area in three hours and twenty minutes from my front door, but to get to the shopping areas, I've basically got to figure four hours.

And of course, depending on the time of day and the season, maybe even more time, to allow for additional traffic or bad roads due to the weather.

I love going into the Twin Cities. I seldom go to Sioux Falls or Fargo, which are the preferred shopping areas of most of my friends. And in all honesty, Sioux Falls and Fargo have most of the same big name stores to shop at, so it's not that I have to go to the Cities to get what I want - at least not in most cases. But there is something about Minneapolis/St. Paul that feeds my soul. Maybe it's the way it's laid out. Maybe it's the cars zipping on the freeway around and though the city. I really don't know why, but periodically I just have to go there to nurture my spirit.

So yesterday was actually one of those times when I really did need to shop at a business that does not have a location locally, other than the Twin Cities: IKEA. I had ordered a cabinet from IKEA and needed to go in to pick it up. And I decided that this would be the day I did most of my Christmas shopping, too.

Boy oh boy, was I successful! I left immediately following church Sunday morning and got home at 11:30 that night. And I found almost everything I needed for gift giving this year! What a wonderful day. I couldn't believe how many people there were out shopping, though. One store had a line that must have had 50 people in it, all waiting to check out. Fortunately, the store was adequately prepared and the lined moved quickly, so I didn't have to wait long at all.

But I kept thinking, "It's only November 11th. It's going to get worse as we get closer to Christmas!" And said a silent prayer of thanks that I was doing my shopping now.

Today I spent a good share of my day unloading the haul in my car, taking price tags off and sorting through it all. Putting items away. Soon I will begin boxing and wrapping: I've vowed to get it done early this year because I really want to sit back and enjoy the Advent season, the time of waiting and watching for the coming of the Christ Child. In just two short weeks, Advent will begin, and I want to  delight in Advent and Christmas this year, instead of being all stressed out.

Advent always gets missed outside of church and it's such a shame. Christmas is so big and beautiful, we should spend Advent truly preparing our hearts for it. For me, Advent had become such a time of hurry, hurry, hurry that I had a hard time focusing on the preparation for the Christ Child.

I pray this year will be different.

1 comment:

  1. I am trying to get a head start on shopping and I only do it for the grandchildren now. The rest get cash. I used to love to shop but my body has worn out to the point I cannot do it anymore so I had to cut back. And, I have my cards all made and only have to write them out and send them off. I am sure I will still be busy enough as I want to do a bit of baking yet. But at least a lot of the stress is gone for me too. I want to enjoy the joyful season of Christmas.