We couldn't find the Advent wreath, so the arrangement in the picture above was our family's Advent centerpiece. Mary, pregnant with Hope incarnate and Joseph guiding them on their way to Bethlehem. A single candle to inspire and remind us of the anticipation of Christ. And beautiful flowers: a get-well gift from a friend.
It was a season of blessing: rest and quiet, though forced, that I needed. Less busy-ness and lessons in what is important and necessary. I didn't get to make homemade treats for teachers because I was too tired, but gift cards and other store-bought gestures, along with hand-written notes of gratitude worked just fine. One pie for our Christmas dinner was great; no one suffered. Declining invitations to get-togethers was hard, but it turns out I didn't miss out on friendship.
The most amazing part of it all was the kindness and generosity of friends. People volunteered to baby-sit although that wasn't an option with runny noses and our oldest one having the flu the week before Christmas. We had delicious meals delivered to our door so many nights and I didn't have to worry about cooking dinner. That was so helpful for me and the whole family. I can never adequately express what it meant to me.
It wasn't the Advent I planned, but it was the one I needed.