About the Author

Tsh Oxenreider is the author of Notes From a Blue Bike and the founder of The Art of Simple. She's host of The Simple Show, and her passion is to inspire people that 'living simply' means making room for more of the stuff that really matters, and that the right,...

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  1. Thank you for sharing. I, actually, knew next to nothing about Advent until I read this post. Being raised in 2 Southern Baptist parochial schools, I was taught as a kid that Advent was strictly a “Catholic ” tradition, that it had no value for us. Now, I see that Advent wasn’t man’s idea, but God’s idea. In reflecting on what was written here, it made me think of the birth of John the Baptist. He was the fore-runner to Jesus, sent to prepare the way for Christ. In their day, NEITHER birth got much fanfare. Today, only Jesus’ birth gets fanfare. While I understand and agree with that line of thinking, we still need to prepare ourselves appropriately to celebrate Christ’s birth. John the Baptist’s ministry was all about repentance, therefore to truly celebrate Christmas appropriately, we should celebrate Advent and make it a time to focus on repentance in preparation for the Christmas celebrations. That’s the message I’m receiving here, and it’s one that needs to be told. Thanks again for sharing. Be blessed.

    • Oh man, Keri, I really needed your words here. I love that you’ve brought up John the Baptist, and his ministry of calling to repentance. That’s a huge part of Advent. Thank you for this perspective and wisdom.

  2. Girl you are so right, the holidays are so stressful. I am learning that it’s important to set boundaries and keep it simple, although its hard when the world is bombarding us with ways to make things complicated. Thanks for your reminder. I needed it since the holidays are literally around the corner.

  3. Hi Tsh,
    I grew up Catholic, and even though I am not Catholic anymore, I still like the Advent season. I’ve become overwhelmed too, and need simplicity. I like your ideas, and will talk to my husband how we can actually celebrate the season of Advent, and focus on the coming of Jesus, and thy why He came. This will be a good way to focus our kids attention on Jesus. We don’t do Santa, and I know it gets mentioned a lot at school. We’ve told our children Santa is fun to pretend, but this is for remembering Jesus and celebrating His birthday. These are some really good ideas to draw their attention to Jesus, and mine too and be intentional to focus on Jesus.

    Blessings,
    Joanne

  4. Yes, heart preparation. That’s how I used to explain Advent to our boys when they were small: getting our hearts ready for Christmas, just as we decorate our house to get it ready for Christmas. Advent celebration has formed our families’ December for over 20 years now, and no matter how “done” I feel when the calendar rolls around to the end of November, I find a spark of celebration return when we light that first purple candle.
    Blessings to you!

  5. “It is the opportunity to set your life by a different watch, by holy time.” I love this Haley Stuart quote. I studied a little about the Hebrew calendar. God’s time is different to ours, in fact, He exists in eternity. There’s nothing wrong with preparations or celebrations, we should redeem our time like the Bible says, we need to make the most of it, before He comes to gather the bride.

  6. Being raised and living out my faith in a liturgical tradition (Lutheran) I feel blessed because I have always known the beauty of Advent, followed by Christmas for 12 days, etc. Do all families in the congregation carry it through the home, sadly not. But we do our very best as Sunday School teachers to teach it, and encourage families. Our tree is up until January 6th, the Day of Epiphany. The wise men used to travel around the house when my children were home. Now they travel at my grandson’s house. Baby Jesus is in his manger after Christmas eve service. So, no Advent was not just a Catholic thing.

  7. Tsh, thank you for the great ideas! Since I have Dutch as part of my family heritage, (I’m heinz 57) we already celebrate St. Nicholas Day, but I like the idea of remembering what this man did, and his importance with the Nicene council. The early church hammered out what we believe long before we came along. It’s worth remembering too, along with his care of those who had no voice and were poor. Blessed, and happy Advent season to you and your family! Joanne

  8. Tsh, here’s one interesting thing about blogging–it stirs thoughts you might not have had, which results in actions. What I mean is, over the past 10 years of blogging, I’ve read a lot of ideas, ideas which I probably hadn’t considered prior. Pre-2005, you had fewer messages being slung at you–whatever you heard from church, maybe newspaper articles (and ads), and all the stuff retail venues offered in-store. My point is, in terms of advent, I only knew what I knew from a those basic outlets. I didn’t know what I was missing, or that I was missing anything! It was simpler in so many ways, but I realize where my kids are concerned, I probably would have done things differently. We’ve never been big gift-givers and tried to focus on the “reason for the season,” but what we did do lacked preparation and anticipation. Anyway, your reminders are good and your examples are tangible helps.

    • I feel the same way! I’ve learned so much through what people share in the online space, which includes Advent for me. It can get overwhelming, but I think, after 5+ years of recognizing Advent, I’m *finally* starting to feel like it’s not one more thing to add to the to-do list. 🙂

  9. Tsh,
    I have “hated” the cultural Christmas season for years! It seems to me that right after Halloween within 2 weeks everyone talks about Christmas. Stores have trees up and Christmas movies, songs, etc. And all you hear on TV is buy buy buy Black Friday, cyber Monday! It seems that Thanksgiving is completely forgotten and the TRUE Meaning of Christmas is lost also!
    That’s why I love the song by Go Fish “It’s called Christmas with a Capital C”! It talks about the world saying Happy Holidays and the customer saying thanks happy but because it’s called Christmas with a Capital C. If I offend you put a helmet on!!!
    Blessings:)

  10. Tsh,
    I have “hated” the cultural Christmas season for years! It seems to me that right after Halloween within 2 weeks everyone talks about Christmas. Stores have trees up and Christmas movies, songs, etc. And all you hear on TV is buy buy buy Black Friday, cyber Monday! It seems that Thanksgiving is completely forgotten and the TRUE Meaning of Christmas is lost also!
    That’s why I love the song by Go Fish “It’s called Christmas with a Capital C”!
    It talks about the world saying Happy Holidays and the customer saying thanks happy but because it’s called Christmas with a Capital C. If I offend you put a helmet on!!!
    Blessings:)

  11. Oh! I’m so happy that incourage is available to us outside the USA again! I don’t know what changed, or who did that (or when? maybe it was a while ago, and I just missed it?), but thank you!

    And, yes, yes, yes! I love Advent, love Christmas, and love being able to have them at our own pace.

  12. Thank you so much for the encouraging post! I break my Christmas decor out rediculously early.,.I blare the old Bing Crosby carols before Thanksgiving…every year it gets earlier and earlier for me. I need Christmas…I need to celebrate the miracle of Christs birth by the end of the year. I take the over commercialism in stride…because it lends more opportunities to spread the news of Jesus. And where would we be without Him? I love the Advent celebration…you’ve inspired me to hone that focus even more this year so that I can properly pass down the excited anticipation of preparing for Christs birth to my children.
    Happy Christmas!
    Megs

  13. I am Catholic, but it wasn’t until I became and adult that I began to understand Advent. It is more than preparing for Christmas. It is preparing our hearts for the second coming of Christ. It is a focus on repentance (the other penitential season other than Lent) and on making things right. I’m not sure if the Anglican lectionary has 3 cycles, but each year even there is a slightly different focus on the preparation. Last year it was John the Baptist. This year it is preparing, with pure hearts and good deed for the coming of the Lord. I truly love this holiday season. It is challenging, yet comforting. I am also the music director at our parish and I particularly love the Taize songs for this time of year. Very simply and reflective: Wait for the Lord” and “In the Lord I’ll Be Ever Thankful.” I’m glad you’re resting in this time of year. 🙂

  14. I love Christmas. I usually give myself a special gift each year. I chose a book on Advent readings or go over the Birth of Christ in the gospels… looking for hidden treasure… something to meditate on, some new thought… for application.
    I involve my family too. Last year we used Ann Voskamp’s ideas of the four candles signifying hope, joy, peace and love. We did the readings, looked at the videos, prayed … and connected. So TSH, reading your article was again re-enforcing the concept of the advent. Thank you so much! You have an unusual name.