Just Life

Three on Thursday | For This Holiday Season.

My small group is reading Heidi Haverkamp’s Advent in Narnia this holiday season (along with a few chapters of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe* and maybe even watching a few scenes from one of the movies … I haven’t seen any of them so that part really intrigues me). Advent is short this year so we started the book this week in order to mostly finish it by our last meeting on December 21.

All of which is to explain how I’m into Week One of an Advent devotion and looking at Chapter 4 of Lewis’ book. This is the chapter where Edmund finds his way into Narnia, meets the White Witch and makes himself sick eating Turkish Delight.

Yesterday’s devotion suggested we make a list of activities or traditions that increase a sense of God’s grace in your life, rather than a sense of obligation, guilt, or “being a perfect family.” I’ve sensed a real shift in our on-line community this past year to simplify and focus (and I am all over all of that!), but this was the first time I’d seen it framed as “increasing God’s grace in my life”. I love that!

Here are three things from my list:

  1. Daily alone time. hopefully with twinkle lights. (see the photo above.) Kym shared her holiday mantra – I think mine would be “all is calm. all is bright.”
  2. Small makes. I am a knitter and sharing the craft – or the fruits of my craft – is a blessing. Making myself crazy knitting big projects on a tight deadline is none of that. This year, I have a few small makes planned and … nothing else.
  3. Celebrating Hanukkah with Marc. He didn’t light a single candle last year, but he’s all in for this year. The first night of Hanukkah is Sunday. He has big plans for latkes and felafel. and maybe we watched a little bit too much Great British Baking Show, but last night was his trial run for homemade pita. I made a cucumber and yogurt dressing and enjoyed all of. I’m probably better at latkes and lighting candles. (hah! as I typed this I recall how important moral support is – thank you Bonny!)

Are there things you plan to change up this season?

Head on over to Carole’s for more ToT lists!

*I’m listening to the whole book. Michael York’s narration, which I first heard in 2014 🙂 thank you Book Bingo! It’s simply delightful and a holiday treat all on its own.


  • Carole

    I love the part with the Turkish delight! My 4th grade English teacher read this aloud to our class and I’ve never forgotten it. Can I come over for latkes?

  • Honore´

    Daily alone time with twinkle lights definitely speaks to me! We’ve yet to put up the tree – this weekend, for sure. I’m thinking we may wind up buying a new one; if I remember correctly, last year we lost a whole tier of lights…
    Your advent and Hanukkah activities are great.

  • Kat

    I have changed some things up dramatically! (Smaller tree… less Christmas stuff out everywhere) And, I am adding more Bonhoeffer to my Advent. (I struggle with Advent… the waiting has never been my strong suit!)

    This year my daily process includes celebrating the wait. And, I have lots of knitting planned so I will have things to occupy my hands which helps with waiting!

    Happy Hanukkah to Marc and you!

  • Lydia

    The only gift I’m knitting this year are socks for my mom and I’ve already finished one of them. I love that Marc is incorporating Hanukkah into your season-if he needs a guinea pig for the felafel let me know 😉

  • Bonny

    As parts of my life got more complicated (two houses, time spent traveling between them, doing twice the work in them) I feel like I’ve unconsciously (and sometimes on purpose) simplified everything. My wardrobe, possessions, stash, what I read, etc. have really become simple, and that includes decorating. The only decoration I’ll have in MD is the little table top tree I just ordered from White Flower Farm. Simple is easy, and leaves more room for joy!

  • Marilyn Phillips

    The past few years have found me moving in a more minimalistic direction. I’m learning that less really is more. When the stuff I own begins to own me, I have too much stuff. So, this year, most of the boxes of decorations are staying on the shelf. I am taking long walks in the woods cutting branches and berries while I contemplate the beauty of it all. And, my theme, which I will sketch on our chalkboard is “Comfort and Joy.” (Side note: less is always more, especially when it comes to hair! Enjoy your new cut.)

  • Margene

    We’ve always had a simplified view of the Holidays. The things I like best are Christmas cards and lights. I’ll put up as many lights as I can find places for. Smith will be making latkes on Monday (his day off) and we may even light candles every night or so. My motto? The same as yours!

  • Debbie

    I seem to crave quiet time during Advent more that any other time of year and I have to really work to seek out that precious time alone. It is so easy to get caught up in all of the busyness and miss the point of the whole season. Best wishes to you for a lovely, calm Advent season and Happy Hanukkah to Marc!

  • Vera

    Alone time is definitely a necessity for me (with or without twinkle lights). I like your All Is Calm idea and Happy Hannukah to Marc (great that you are celebrating both). I would love some falafel!!!

  • Penny

    What a lovely view you have! Alone time, especially with twinkle lights, sounds like just the right thing. Some days I have a hard time finding that time every day and am a better person when I do find it. This time of year is always a bit of a friendly power struggle as I love simplicity but live with people who have very different ideas about what the holiday should look like – compromise. : )

  • karen

    my decorating is on a smaller scale and it’s wonderful! I could prune more out but not this year. Love your cozy knitting shot with the tree in the background. I love Advent and the waiting 🙂

  • Kym

    Beautiful, Mary! Filling our lives with grace . . . is so much better than filling our lives with MORE. I wish you a calm and bright Advent season. (And, oh my. Homemade latkes. YUM!) XO

  • Patty

    I chose all is calm, all is bright too. Twinkle lights are going up this evening. Only one knitting project and it’s the socks…almost one down. The football game this afternoon will help with that. This year I’m focusing on little kids for Christmas only…some I know…some I don’t. They bring such joy!