This post is sponsored by Toadily Handmade Beeswax Candles. Giveaway at the end of this post.
Every year I love giving away some gorgeous Advent candles to my readers, but before we get into the giveaway, I want to stop and reflect on why I think so many of us desperately need some Advent quiet in our lives…
“Advent is the season of secret, the secret of the growth of Christ, of Divine Love growing in silence.
It is the season of
humility, silence, and growth.
For nine months Christ grew in His Mother’s body. By His own will she formed Him from herself, from the simplicity of her daily life.
She had nothing to give Him but herself.
He asked for nothing else.
She gave Him herself.
…Every beat of her heart gave Him His heart to love with, His heart to be broken by love.”
I love this quote. Secret, humility, silence, and growth.
As the holiday avalanche is beginning just around the corner with Halloween, snowballs into Thanksgiving, and keeps crashing on until Christmas I’m reminded that most years my Advent cannot be described with the the words secret, humility, silence, and growth.
But I want my Advent to be quiet and still, full of expectation (which comes from a Latin word that means to wait and to hope for). And practicing waiting in joyful hope rather than rushing around is something that I desperately need.
Our culture is not very good at waiting. In fact, we’re terrible at waiting. I think we’ve almost completely lost the ability to wait and be still, because we constantly have something at hand to distract us.
When you’re waiting in line and it’s going to be five minutes before you get to order or check out, what do you do? I’ll tell you what I do. I reach into my purse and I pull out my phone. I check my email, scroll through Instagram, look at Facebook, send a text message. Because five minutes waiting with my own thoughts and looking at the world around me isn’t entertaining enough for me, apparently.
We don’t know how to wait anymore. We fill up all the quiet spaces in our lives with some kind of noise. With distraction and entertainment, and multitasking. Just waiting, in quiet expectation…..it’s a challenge.
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to be down on social media. There are some days when social media is my lifeline as a mom. But if I’m not careful, it all becomes noise. And if I just drown all the quiet space in my life with noise and distraction, I don’t have the quiet I need to listen for God.
It’s so natural to grab your phone and think, “Well, if I’m just standing here in line not doing anything, I might as well be productive. I might as well post on Instagram or send out a tweet or do something.”
We are addicted to distraction, but we’re also obsessed with productivity. We admire the go-getters. We want to multi-task and get more done.
While I do the dishes, I like to listen to podcasts so I can learn something while I’m doing a task I don’t like. Because just doing the dishes doesn’t feel like enough. And, I find that this even carries over into my prayer life. I’ll think, “Well, if I pray my Rosary in the shower, then I’ll hit two birds with one stone.” Which is so not the point! I know there’s 15 minutes a day I have free I can set apart for God.
Our time and our quiet is a gift to him and it will be a grace to us. But I have to fight that urge to get stuff done when what is really valuable can only be achieved by stopping. And that’s why I need Advent so desperately. And I don’t think I’m the only one.
Advent isn’t about doing. It’s not about our productivity, it’s not about checking things off on our list. And it’s not about distraction. It’s about getting quiet enough and getting our spiritual vision clear enough that we can really see what God has done in the Incarnation when Christmas Day rolls around. We need to get quiet, we need to breathe, in order to prepare our hearts.
And you know what? God made us and knows what makes us thrive. He knows that human beings weren’t created to be productive 24/7. The sun goes down and people were designed to take that time to rest from our work. We’ve created technology to help us ignore these natural rhythms, but forgetting our design doesn’t serve us well.
God gives us Sunday as a Sabbath and He desires for us to take that day to rest partly because He knows we need that rest. And the Church gives us times of stillness like Advent–a time to rest and prepare ourselves for Christmas.
And you know what happens when I ignore God’s design and I fight the rhythms of the day and week and Church year so I can go go go? I run myself ragged. And as I talk to other women, this is a struggle for them, too. We are trying to do too much. We feel guilty when we stop to rest from the work we do for our family and our careers and so we end up exhausting ourselves.
But friends, it is not just acceptable for us to set apart time for rest, it is necessary because God made us to need rest. We were created to need some quiet space in our lives and in our heads. And Advent is a gift to help us do that.
But what does a quiet, unplugged Advent look like?
I notice that when I’m suffering from overwhelm and screen overload, I’m drawn to the sensory and tangible things. I want to chop up veggies and make soup in my kitchen. I want to play music and dance with my kids. I want to sit outside with a cup of tea and watch the light dance through the leaves of the trees in my front yard.
So I propose that an Advent of secret, humility, silence, and growth would be one in which we say no to busy and we say no to being plugged in 24/7. We say no to distraction and noise. Most of us can’t just throw away our phones for the Advent season, but I think we can all take a step back and be more careful about our scrolling time. So let’s leave more open quiet space in our days and let’s be present to life with our eyes, ears, and hands. Let’s live tangibly and mindfully.
Here’s some ways to do that:
- Remove social media apps from your phone. (Needing to sign in on a laptop is an extra step that will decrease screen time for most of us.)
- Listen to music that is calming and quiet in your home. (There’ll be lots of holiday noise and bustle everywhere you go, so a break helps.)
- Do some sensory projects like cooking, knitting, coloring, or whatever you find therapeutic and grounding.
- Prioritize daily Mass and Adoration. (Replace the go-go-go with times of quiet preparation.)
- Use natural light as much as you can. (I’ve even heard of families who use candlelight in the evenings to set the mood for the waiting in darkness.)
- Choose some simple Advent traditions to give rhythm to your days.
When we start to cut out distractions, stop reaching for the phone every still moment, stop overscheduling ourselves, we are doing something. We might not be able to measure it, but it is valuable. And we need it.
My prayer for all of us this year, is that we can quiet our lives and minds enough to embrace the gift that Advent is, the gift that the Church is giving you so that your ears will hear and your eyes will see clearly the miracle of the Incarnation of Our Lord.
One of my family’s favorite Advent traditions is lighting Advent candles each night at dinner. Since Benjamin was a baby we’ve been ordering these beautiful 100% beeswax Advent candles from Toadily Handmade Beeswax Candles. And they also have gorgeous solid Advent candles.
When the kids got old enough, we started getting the Advent candle kits.
It’s the world’s easiest fun kids project for uncrafty moms like me and for the past couple of years Toadily Handmade has generously given away a kit to a lucky Carrots reader.
I am such a huge fan of this company. Their candles are beautifully and 100% beeswax which is very important to me. And they’re celebrating their 10th anniversary! This year they’re offering an Advent candle making kit to TWO lucky readers. And they’re offering a 10% off discount code: ADVENT10. It’s good through the end of October so be sure to order your Advent candles in time to enjoy the discount!
Here’s how to enter the giveaway:
(Only for Carrots readers in the United States and Canada for shipping reasons)
1. Mandatory entry: Visit the Toadily Handmade website and then come back and leave a comment at Carrots telling us about your favorite candles.
2. Additional entry: Follow Toadily Handmade Beeswax Candles on Instagram and leave an additional comment saying you did.
2. Additional entry: Visit Toadily Handmade Beeswax Candles on Facebook and leave an additional comment saying you did.
3. Additional entry: Pin this post to Pinterest and leave an additional comment saying you did.
I will choose the winners by random number generator. Giveaway ends on Friday, October 22nd at midnight EST. Good luck, friends!!
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. Review and giveaway items were provided by Toadily Handmade Beeswax Candles. All opinions are my own. I only promote products I would purchase myself and I love giving away wonderful things to my readers!