Notice: All forms on this website are temporarily down for maintenance. You will not be able to complete a form to request information or a resource. We apologize for any inconvenience and will reactivate the forms as soon as possible.

How to Celebrate Advent When Life Is Busy

Advent Candles, wreath and small nativity scene
Practical ways to remember Christ’s coming amid the Christmas hubbub.

I love the Christmas/Advent season, but I already know I won’t be able to do everything I want to in the next four weeks.

From deciding on gifts for everyone on my list and tracking those gifts down before Christmas, to prepping for friends’ parties, to planning trips to see family — and somehow making sure I keep up with regular responsibilities and work in the middle of that — Christmas can be a lot. Sometimes I wonder if it’s even possible to slow down and truly celebrate and enjoy the season.

Amid all this busyness, trying to recognize Advent can feel like another item on my never-ending to-do list.

Hurry up and wait

But I don’t want to skip over Advent, no matter how busy this season will be. Advent prepares us for Christmas by reminding us of the tension between now and not yet. Just as the people of Israel waited for centuries for Christ to come, just as John the Baptist’s ministry pointed ahead to Someone better, the weeks before Christmas give us an opportunity to wait. To remember that we are still waiting, though now for Christ’s second coming and for the fulfillment of the rest of His promises.

“I’m sure this isn’t how God wants us to celebrate Christmas,” my dad said after a frantic Christmas Eve shopping trip when I was a kid. We know we shouldn’t be so stressed about finding the right gifts or doing all the activities that we miss sight of why we’re celebrating. But how do we keep from missing the point?

Attainable Advent ideas

The next few weeks will go by really fast. Here are a few tips for how to remember Christ’s coming in the middle of the hubbub of the Christmas season.

Don’t try to do it all. Put FOMO in its place. Pick a few Christmas traditions you want to keep and prioritize them, but get rid of the expectation that you will be able to do everything you want. Some of your picks may be just for fun — like making candy cane cookies or driving around to look at Christmas lights.

Prioritize Christmas traditions that focus on Christ. Make sure that some of your activities reorient your perspective around why we’re celebrating, but again, don’t feel like you must do everything your friends or family members are doing. This year, I decided I won’t read an Advent devotional — I’m already behind on the year-round devotional I’m reading — but I plan to watch the recording from Andrew Peterson’s “Behold the Lamb of God” Christmas tour. Maybe you’ll fit an Advent devotional in (check out Boundless’ devotional this year), or you’ll attend a Christmas Eve candlelight service or volunteer at a church outreach event or go caroling at an assisted living center.

Don’t be afraid to say ‘no,’ but do it kindly. Are you noticing a theme here? Christmas activities fill the calendar fast, and sometimes the only way to reduce busyness is to do less. Try to accommodate others’ wishes when you can, but realize that sometimes you just have to bow out of activities you’re invited to.

Listen to an Advent playlist. While driving around to get gifts for everyone on your list, listen to an album or playlist of Advent or Christmas worship songs. Turn it on when you’re doing chores around the house or getting ready for the day.

Combine tasks with spending time with friends. When you’re Christmas shopping for family, ask a friend to join you as they shop for their family. Or if you volunteer at a food bank or at your church, ask a couple of teenagers from the youth group or maybe a visitor from church on Sunday to come along and help. Not only are you crossing something off your to-do list (like shopping for gifts), but you’re investing in relationships with others.

That’s what Christmas is all about

In the end, there’s only so much we can do to address our busyness. Despite our best efforts, we will be busy for much of this season. And that’s OK.

Christmas is, after all, when we remember that Christ came to us despite all our striving, busyness and insufficiency, He came to be with us. He entered our world — with all its chaos, to-do lists, and everything clamoring for our attention — and brought peace.

Copyright 2023 Lauren Dunn. All rights reserved. 

Share This Post:

About the Author

Lauren Dunn
Lauren Dunn

Lauren Dunn is an education reporter for World News Group. She loves stories (especially the good ones), making pizza (usually double pepperoni), and spending time with friends and family. Lauren has lived most of her life in Wichita, Kan., but still regularly gets lost when driving around town.

Related Content