Advent & Me

YOU GUYS. Hang onto your hats, friends. Do I have a treat for you!! I just got off of a Skype video call with none other than Mr. Benjamin Higgins. Yes, that Ben Higgins, from The Bachelor! NEXT MONDAY (As in five days from today), I’m going to be posting our interview! So mark your calendars to stop by BBB and take a listen! We had a great conversation about what he’s been up to recently, and I really think you’re going to enjoy it!

So, as many of you know, my mom was visiting me in New York last week. I wrote this recap post about it, as well as documented our adventures on Instagram (@beauty.beyond.bones) in case you missed it.

But as any out-of-state child knows…when your parents come to visit your place, you go all Mrs. Hannigan, and make your place “shine like the top of the Chrysler Building!

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I cleaned my little studio apartment within an inch of its life.

And it’s not like I’m some slob. I mean, I run a pretty tight ship. My place is always spic and span.

But we’re talking…I scrubbed the baseboards. Cleaned the inside of the fireplace. Scrubbed the grouting of the tiles in the bathroom.

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The place was immaculate. You could eat off of my wood floors by the time I was done with it.

And then I had all of her favorite foods, and beverages and treats all waiting for her arrival. Candles lit. Soft music playing.

My best friend was coming to visit, and boy, was I ready.

So back burner that for just a second. And fast forward to today. My mom has returned home to Ohio. And it’s just me and the hundreds of thousands of tourists in NYC, jonesing to experience Christmas in New York.

I was taking a walk/jog this morning. On my usual route. Off the beaten path and hidden from tourists. My respite from the hustle bustle and frankly, the key to my sanity.

But I was listening to a sermon podcast from none other than my favorite priest, Fr. Mike Schmitz. He’s the next interview I want to get, just throwing that out there 🙂

But, his homily was all about Advent. And how this time before Christmas, despite popular belief that it’s all about shopping, and decorations and parties and SantaCon, and Christmas cards, the true purpose of Advent is preparing your heart and your spirit for the coming of Christ into this world.

Both as a Baby in the manger, and when He comes again.

And after the podcast, I decided to spend the last 30 minutes of my walk in prayer, contemplating what that really meant.

And it hit me: before my mom’s visit, I poured myself into preparing for her arrival. Heck, I was up until 2:30 am polishing the inside of the microwave on the night before she came.

But my mom is such an important person in my life. And it really mattered to me to prepare my home to be in the absolute best condition it could possibly be. Why? Because I love her, and want to create a beautiful environment for her.

I that’s how I prepare for her, how then, should I be preparing for JesusSavior of the World?

And I’m going to be honest, if I were to put into my walk with Christ, the furvor with which I attacked cleaning my apartment, then dang, I would have hauled off and become a nun in Calcutta with Mother Theresa by now, may she Rest in Peace.

But seriously, I was walking home, past all the stores decked out for Christmas, and through the Christmas tree stalls on the sidewalks, and I had to ask myself, what in my heart needs to be cleaned up for Christ? 

Who do I need to ask for forgiveness from? Who do need to forgive? What’s my temperature read on things like pride, jealousy, laziness, selfishness, gossip? What areas of my heart need cleaning up?

There’s a lot of work that I need to do, if I’m honest.

If I’m being super honest, my spirit has been burdened with impatience lately. Especially in the area of my singleness. And my next chapter of life. I fully trust and have faith that God is in control, and has a good and fruitful plan for my life, in His perfect timing, but I’m not gonna lie…I am getting tired of waiting. Really tired. I’m ready to embark on the rest of my life. I’m ready to love someone, and make him the happiest man in the world. I’m ready for the challenges that love brings, and the growth that comes with it. But I am getting wildly impatient, and honestly, that can sometimes breed a sense of hopelessness.

And so in the spirit of Advent, I think I need to surrender that to Jesus. To give that deep longing to Him — cry out to Him with it, if I must. Because for whatever reason, God is waiting to fulfill my soul’s desire. Perhaps He still sees an area in my heart that’s not ready. And if that’s the case, I pray that He work on that area, painful as that transformation and growth may be.

I am ready.

And in the meantime, I need to just be open to the ways in which God may be putting the pieces together. Which is why, I am going on a date tomorrow night 😉

So this Advent, let’s not lose the true purpose of this time before Christmas. With to-do lists that keep growing exponentially by the day, let’s be sure to reflect how we are preparing our hearts for the coming of Christ into this world on Christmas Eve.

I think that should be at the tippy top of our Christmas To Do List.

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171 thoughts on “Advent & Me

  1. Really nice thoughts, many blessings to you and thank you for the reminder it’s such a hectic time of year and it keepi​ng it in perspective will keep it peaceful

    1. Thank you Alice. So true – we can definitely be overcome with hectic craziness but we can find His calm if we seek it! Hugs and love xox

  2. I have been known to prepare my home for guests so they can feel they are in a clean space without clutter. I love the analogy you put together in preparing for God in our lives. A lot to think about, (as if I had nothing else to think about.)

    I cannot wait to hear the interview with Ben Higgins and hope you meet up with the Priest.

    1. Thank you so much 🙂 haha yes! And we can prepare for Him all year long! Yeah, it was a great interview. Can’t wait for y’all to hear it! Hugs and love xox

  3. I had dirt in my eye as I was reading this. Made me reflect on what’s been keeping me busy lately that I forget what advent really is. Thank you for this post.

    1. Thank you Mrs. wayfarer. So glad this resonated with you 🙂 big hugs to you my friend xox

  4. This post will most definitely preach. I might borrow it if I preach any during this season. You make so many great life application points here. This reminds me of the prayer of the psalmist in Psalm 139 – “Search me, O God, and know my heart. Try me and know my anxious thoughts. And if there be any wicked way in me, lead me in the way everlasting.”

    1. Thank you Matthew. Absolutely – would be an honor! Ah yes I absolutely love that psalm. Hugs and love xox

  5. All great questions. What are we really meditating on this Christmas or have we lost sight of it’s truth? I had to ask myself that as well.
    Have a a great Christmas!!!

  6. Hey. Great read. Love how you made the connection with advent. Nicely put. Like the Ms. Flannigan meme too – funny. Thank you for sharing the insight. 🙂
    Holly

    1. Hey Holly! Oh thank you so much 🙂 haha Annie was my favorite movie of all time! I played Annie three different times! Hugs and love xox

  7. Caralyn, you did it again and got me thinking about what really matters. More than once a day, I do a soul inventory to clean out a few of the things that clutter my life with sin. Thank you for a thought provoking post. Love and hugs!

    1. Aw, friend thank you for your kind words. What a great daily practice you do! Very inspiring 🙂 Hugs and love xox

  8. “Only slowly does the truth become believable. Finally, the Body of Christ is not out there or over there; it’s in you—it’s here and now and everywhere. The goal is then to move beyond yourself and recognize that what’s true in you is true in all others too. The Universal Christ permeates all creation including us. We are all the image and likeness of God!….“There is only Christ, he is everything, and he is in everything,” Paul shouts (see Colossians 3:11).” Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditation Christ Is Everywhere Thursday, December 6, 2018
    This is a good meditation by Richard that says all that matters is Christ – the Christ within you.

    1. Oh wow that is so powerful. Thank you for sharing that. there is only Christ! Amen! Hugs and love xox

  9. I just love your honesty and openness and your faith! Thank you for this beautiful reminder of what it’s all about.
    P.s. have fun on your date!

  10. So beautifully written! A lovely reminder that preparations are needed in our hearts for Lord Jesus to have a wonderful place to reside!! I shall certainly put more thought into this during my times of prayer and Bible reading.
    I am not ‘into’ decorations and presents for the most part. I do have my family (young children) that receive gifts from “Santa”. My husband and I have friends that insist on a gift exchange. We do our best to limit the commercialism in our lives for the holy days.
    Thank you for sharing <3
    All the best,
    J

    1. Thank you so much J 🙂 that’s so beautiful – a wonderful place to reside!! Love it!! Hope you guys have a blessed Christmas! Hugs and love xox

  11. Here I am again – for I too am participating in Advent and reflecting on self and I too am tired of waiting 😊

    Postive Upllifting Vibes on your date, In my Mind I feel that I am Ready, so I pray the same for my heart. Thank You again for sharing and Thank You for speaking your experiences, i know exactly what you mean about the sense of hopelessness, reading this post not only made me feel better but you helped put words to my feelings. Ready to embark on the rest of my Life.

    Have a Wonderful Christmas season and may this Advent season reveal everything we need to move forward in love with Love.

    The guide I am using for Advent is from Unity

    http://www.unity.org/publications/resource-materials/world-hope

    1. Hi Niki! Aww thank you so much for sharing your heart. Yes! I’m so glad it resonated with you. Praying for you! Hugs and love xox

      1. PS – I forgot to mention that for the last 2 years, I too binge watch the Hallmark Christmas movies starting at Halloween- yes my desire for Love, Peace and Unity is eclectically acquired- Enjoy your Holidays – reflecting on All I have taken in this year and All I desire to share and accomplish for 2019

  12. You’re an excellent writer. More importantly, you’re a spiritual missionary with your priorities in the right place. Together, this makes your articles meaningful, helpful, and worthwhile. Thanks, Reid

    1. Hey three Reid, thank you so much for your kind words. So glad you enjoyed the read. very touched by your affirmation. hugs x

      1. I most definitely enjoyed reading. It was descriptive. I could envision your apartment and the cleaning and the listening to the sermon. Solid. PS I appreciated the idea of cleaning for your mom. Nice work!

  13. Wow! Thanks again for an awesome post. I didn’t buy your book about blogging yet, but I looked at what you do and started pumping my content a bit. Good results so far. How do you get the more on WordPress.com at the bottom of the post?

  14. Great post! We let Him enter our hearts but we must be willing to ‘walk with Him’… I remember this hymn….

    Just a closer walk with Thee
    Grant it, Jesus, is my plea
    Daily walking close to Thee
    Let it be, dear Lord, let it be

    Don’t know the source but the message is clear. 😊

    1. That is so true – walk with Him, yes! Wow what powerful lyrics. Thanks Jeanne for sharing that. Hugs and love xox

  15. Didnt know I would read through when i started. the more i went further, the more interesting it became till i was compelled to read every bit of it. your experiences really spiced up every sentence. I have to take a deep look at myself and make sure i am always prepared to have a place that God would really like to occupy.

    Nice post. keep it up

    1. Oh my gosh thanks for saying that Teri! And thanks for reading!! I really appreciate that 🙂 have a wonderful weekend! Hugs and love xox

    1. Thank you so much Laura Beth 🙂 gosh I am humbled by your generous words 🙂 God is good!! Hope you have a beautiful and blessed weekend my dear friend! Hugs and love xox

  16. Great post! I want to say something else, but the words aren’t coming out right, lol. Just know that it was a fantastic post, with really great points!! God Bless you during this Advent season! 🙂

  17. I really enjoyed this article. I like how you talked about God and your real life. I think people do not realize singlehood is not easy even as a Christian. Happy Advent to you!

    1. Hi there Ada! Thank you so much. Yeah – singleness is really a blessing of an opportunity to grow in closeness with Jesus, and getting that relationship right, before bringing another person into your life. I need to remember that instead of just being inpatient and wanting to fast forward to the happy ending if that makes sense. Happy Advent to you as well my dear friend. Hugs and love xox

  18. I so needed to read this today. I too am in a season of waiting and yesterday was one of those days where I cried all day. I wasn’t strong, I wasn’t looking for the best. I drowned myself in my sorrows. Thank you for sharing this, because I definitely need to focus on what God is doing during my wait.

    1. Hi there friend, I’m sending you a big hug through the screen. I’m so sorry you’re walking through a difficult season right now. Know that you are close in prayer in my heart. Sending all my love. Xox

  19. I have to admit, honestly, i had already skipped this post for something else, but something pulled me back to it. And i gotta say, it was definitely worth the read.

    Your reflection/relation of the purpose of advent to your preparedness for your mom’s visit is quite the meditative thinking, and dare not withhold my commendation for it.

    The commuting as well… That’s something i too can relate to. And quite frankly, it’s one of the best habits I’ve ever inculcated in my life. Sometimes i think it’s the best way i generate ideas.

    Without further ado, thumbs up on your patience with God’s timing. I believe it’ll pay off, big-time eventually.

    Have a great weekend and a relaxing date #winks

    1. Hi Ned, oh thank you so much! I’m so glad you decided to read it!! Thank you for such kind and thoughtful words. God is good! Haha thanks – I hope it goes smoothly! Hugs and love xox

  20. Oh I have so many thoughts, but I ll
    sum it up with this quote ‘Never go in search of love, go in search of life, and life will find you the love you seek.” Atticus said it best. Stop waiting friend, start living and the rest will fall into place. Good luck with your date.

    1. Hey Mrs. zen!! Oh how I love that quote. So power and so true. Thank you for sharing that nugget of wisdom with me. Hugs and love xox

    1. Hi Jancie, thank you so much for your encouraging words! Haha oh my! What an honor!! 💛💛 glad you stopped by. Hugs and love xox

    1. Thanks so much Amy! Oh that’s awesome! Can’t wait to check it out! Have a beautiful weekend! Hugs and love xox

  21. “Ready to make him the happiest man in the world.” Maybe just hyperbole, but maybe a bit idealistic too. With you not having been married yet or even in a serious relationship for a long time I offer friendly caution on putting too much expectation on…anything. I’ve learned that even “innocent” self-talk can subtly affect how you see and do things.

    The rule of thumb is 10 years. Most marriages don’t start getting REALLY good until about 10 years. Julie and I were told that, and I thought that was a ridiculously long time! Turned out to be just about right. Everything from where you like to squeeze your favorite whitening toothpaste tube to toilet seats to stowing dirty laundry – if at all. Every day can bring another challenge to adjust. Date as long as you want. Living together is a whole ‘nother can of worms. And we haven’t even started talking money, child rearing philosophies, and all of the inevitable outside pressures no one can foresee.

    If someone needs someone else to make them the happiest person in the world, run like you stole something! Cliché time – marriage isn’t two pillars leaning in each other, it’s two pillars standing on their own but very close together. Otherwise, when one falls, the other must.

    I know you’ll make a great wife for someone. No doubt. I just detected some idealism there as part of a pattern I’ve noticed when it comes to your comments on trying to find love. Forgive me if I’ve misinterpreted. I just think sometimes one (reformed) idealist can recognize another, eh?

    Enjoy your date tonight. Tonight. Not even an audition. Just tonight. Don’t expect. Don’t even hope. Just…enjoy…tonight. Don’t let the future crowd in. Laugh, dance, talk. Tonight.

    Signed, yours truly; Old and Experienced.

    1. Hey Jeff, thank you for this powerful perspective and wisdom! Those are great great nuggets of wisdom. I guess that was coming from what my mom always taught me: that marriage is not about what you get, but what you give. And so that comment was coming from a heart that sincerely wants to give everything in love for another person 🙂 but haha that’s a great point – Toothpaste and all!! I love that image of the pillars – how very very powerful! As always Jeff, you’ve left me with so much important stuff to mull over. Thank you. Hope you and Julie have a beautiful weekend. Hugs and love xox

  22. I love the way you are so real. It’s encouraging. Thank you for sharing. I definitely have to do some soul-searching on what I really think about Christmas.
    On the matter of singleness, I’ve learnt to trust in God’s plans, for His plans are always good and mindblowingly awesome.

    1. Hey thank you so much for this wonderful encouragement. Means a lot. Amen! Mindblowingly awesome!! Hugs and love xox

  23. To-Do Lists that grow exponentially every day….! heehee!

    Really good post, and kinda keys into and sets the theme for some things I’m thinking about for this advent season. Thanks!

  24. I love the way you invite others to join you in surrender. I think at times we doubt the goodness of God and it keeps us from giving him control. May you know the goodness and sufficiency of God in your surrender! Thanks for inviting others to that higher standard.

  25. I needed this today. I am at a place where all I can do is allow God to mend my heart. I am losing my ability to sing, a gift I have cherished my whole life. While I have been a bit of a grinch because of pain and loss, I need to focus on the gift that we are celebrating because in all truth, I am still here. God didn’t put me here to feel sorry for myself, so I am going to meditate on the gift of hope brought to the world through a little baby. Thank you.

    1. Thank you Michelle. I’m so glad this resonated with you. I will definitely keep you in my prayers as God works on your heart. Amen – you are still here and that is something to celebrate. Hang in there friend. Hugs and love xox

    2. Hi Michelle, your note really touched me this morning. My husband was laid off last week and, like you, when the thing that defines you is cut away there’s a whole life rebalancing that must take place. Not gonna lie, there are some emotions that need to be worked through..anger, denial, grief etc.. but on the other side of it all is the opportunity to develop other gifts and create something new. Gratitude clears my mind of negativity and fear allowing me to build upon past blessings. Christmas provides heavenly context, a daily reminder to “right size” my problems and focus on the immeasurable love of our savior. Hang in there Michelle. (Romans 8:28)

  26. Waiting is not as easy as we say it but then we got to wait for the right person and we should trust God to help us with that as well. Thanks for this post…

  27. This spoke to me so much today! Especially the part about ‘what in my heart needs to be cleaned up for Christ?’ and being impatient about singleness – love it, thank you for sharing!

    1. Hey there Nagakam! Thank you so much for your kind words 🙂 sending you big hugs and love xox

  28. I love this, and I love your point about preparing your heart (and home). I was the same when my mother would visit when I was in college, and I definitely need to evaluate that with my relationship with Christ. I know the pain and frustration that comes with waiting, but I also know God uses that waiting to develop and prepare us for what He has designed for us. So, thank you for your beautiful and inspiring words. I pray your season is full of joy. 💜

    1. Thanks so much Alexandria- that’s such a great point – He uses that time! Thank you friend. Hugs and love xox

  29. Hi Caralyn: I am sorry for not getting to read and respond to this before Saturday night. I missed the opportunity to pray for your safety and protection on your date Friday night. But I know our Lord Jesus had you covered, and Holy Spirit was with you, being within your spirit always.

    As you continue to share how Holy Spirit ministers to you, and guides your thoughts and actions, you are an inspiring vessel of God. Your words continue planting seeds, dropping great thoughts into hearts of many. When seeds are planted, Holy Spirit can then water and create growth, either direct, or through another obedient servant.

    Making sure our homes are clean and sparkly for a special visitor, such as your Mom, is a normal activity. But I have no doubt that your NYC home is sparkly clean at all times.

    Anyway, back to the topic. For many, even some in the Christian Faith I am sorry to say, seeking Holy Spirit’s guidance for cleansing of heart, spirit and mind is not something thought of often. The good thing to remember is, Holy Spirit is God, so naturally He is Love. When He brings something to our memory, it is only to convict us of sin so we will repent, and draw closer to our Lord Jesus again. Holy Spirit never condemns, only our enemy does that to us.

    When our spirit, heart, and mind are cleansed by the Blood of Jesus Christ, when we repent and ask forgiveness, we feel fresher as well, knowing we are closer to Jesus again in our relationship. He never moves away, we do by having unconfessed sin in our lives.

    Thank you Caralyn, for always sharing Christ, and how to live for Him. Praying with you, that Holy Spirit will cause many to think after reading your words, and follow up by speaking to, and listening to Holy Spirit.

    God Bless you Caralyn.
    Luv. 😀🌹❤️😘

    1. Hey George! Thank you so much for this beautiful response. Yes! Covered indeed 🙂 you’re so right – that is something i should constantly be praying about and considering. You always leave me with such powerful things to think about!! Thank you for that!! Sending big hugs my dear friend xox

  30. Praying for you, Caralyn. Waiting can be very hard. Your willingness to give it to Christ and say through whatever pain is brave. Faith… is the victory. And gives God so much love. You are giving a love to Christ many cannot give. God loves you!

  31. Hmmm this so very true. There are so much that needs to be clean our of our inner doors and windows of our heart, mind and soul. Daily we must pray and ask God to reveal to us if they be anyone we may be holding in our hearts for a long time thinking that we have forgiven them but we didn’t. And through His Holy Spirit he will reveal and show us. Everyday those spots and wrinkles are being removed my the purifying fire of the Holy Spirit. Its not going to be a rapid process but it will get done, if we are truly wanting them to be removed and desire to become more like Jesus and to be fully ready without spot and wrinkle for His glorious and mighty return. I must admit (I’m talking from experience) sometimes waiting can become very. Exhausted. I must admit that. And I’ve learnt a grand lesson that when we rush ahead of God thinking that His timing for things to happen the way we want it to in our life’s and go out from the waiting seat we end up in some serious trouble. For we didn’t “wait on the Lord” so I pray that God increases your patience within your waiting process and know that He’s going to come through for you at the end of it all. Get ready to receive your great blessing in Jesus name!
    Blessings to you! 🙂

    1. Thank you Tammy. You’re so right about that – He has given us the Holy Spirit as a guide and what a beautiful thing that is. I love this reflection. Thank you for your prayers and insight. Big big hugs my dear friend xox

  32. Very nice comments about Christmas. It is a time to reflect. I am inspired by your story and as a psychologist and a professor I will send those that struggle with ED to your site/book. I really like your honesty and empathy – nice coming from a Christian. Thanks for liking my empty nest blog – I am just a beginner. God Bless – Don
    https://emptynestexperience.org/

    1. Thank you so much Don. I appreciate your kind words, and for passing my information along! Hugs and love xox w

  33. Great post girlfriend!! This year I decided to do an online advent lesson to also prepare my heart. Oh my!!! I need more patience… wirh family members who irritate me, and sometimes strangers. And like you, I am longing to meet my Boaz. 😍 Thank you for always inspiring me & seeing things right in my heart. Your posts challenge me to examine my own heart. Much love this Christmas!! ❤👑❤

    Debra
    stylewisebydebra.net

    1. Thank you so much Debra! What a kind thing to say 🙂 praying for you and your future Boaz! Hugs and love xox

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