advent can you believe it is november?  as i turn another page in my calendar, i am struck by a particular sense of anticipation for the holiday season.  and this year is looking like it will be extra festive.  fall is in full effect.  pumpkin everything is everywhere.  turkey day menu ideas are starting to take shape.  Christmas present shopping themes have been decided.  'tis upon us.

i love advent season.  such a marvelous time to make merry as a family and prepare our hearts for the celebration of Christ's birth.

don't get me wrong, i love the glitz and spritz of the season.  i love shopping and sipping eggnog lattes.  i love the cheer and warmth that family traditions bring.  the music.  the movies.  the food.  the presents!

but there is always something deep down that longs for simplicity.  a certain realness.  letting my gaze be fixed on the humble manger.  letting my heart swell with gratitude for the great gift of the Father.  softly and sweetly singing seasonal songs of the faith.  reveling in the meaning of it all.  the best present.  His presence.  our Immanuel.  the reason for the season, indeed.

and this year, as we move swiftly into this glorious season, i find myself especially mindful.  i want the moments to matter.  i want to focus on heavenly things.  i want elinor to grow up with a proper wonder.  i want her to comprehend what a tremendous thing it is to celebrate the epiphany of our Savior.  and the martha stewart in me wants everything to be sufficiently tinseled... i want my home to be filled with reminders of the gift from above that came down to earth.  to live for us.  to die for us.  to ransom us.  to give us abundant life.  this is Christmas.  this is the spirit of the season.

with this on my heart lately, i found it positively Providential that naptime diaries just released the 2013 naptime diaries advent calendar.  amen.  i LOVE jessi's blog and i especially love her heart for pointing people Christward.  she does these printables every year and they are as meaningful as they are lovely.  please head over to her store and snag a set for yourself...and friends and family!

this is what matters.  i pray that our hearts are full of love and gratitude and generosity this season.  that we feel so abundant, we can't help but pour out into others.

coram Deo.

and ho! ho! ho!