New DecorFor forty-five years there’s been scant deviations from the routine of putting up our annual Advent decor. As Tevya would say it’s tradition! But when you thin out the herd, pack things up, and sell the space where everything had its place…well, the well-rehearsed routine goes kaput. And as much as I’ve lamented the stress of imprinting routines in our new life in North Carolina, the disrupted routine of decorating for Christmas has been a great blessing.

As most of us know, the retelling of a beloved story over time becomes a routine that loses its sense of wonder. But when the accustomed places for displaying multiple nativity sets no longer exist, you unpack the cherished figures…and their story…with a freshness of new possibilities and places. The gingerbread theme houses that graced the kitchen garden window in our previous home now becomes the Bethlehem backdrop for a nativity of thread spools decorated with fabrics from long ago sewing projects for my mother and a dear friend. Created by another dear friend, and usually displayed in my sewing room upstairs, they now welcome all who enter our home through the screen porch.

The entry through our front door is a bit of a workout up a steep driveway. Even without snow and ice. Previous owners therefore reoriented a more convenient entrance to our home through the side gate and the family room door off the screen porch. An ideal refrigerated counter for desserts during the frigid Thanksgiving season, it now hosts the Holy Family and all who have come to worship the coming King.

A festive Christmas wreathes obscures the doorknocker on the front door. But the approach to the screen porch…that was another matter not part of our forty-five year routine. There was the red cardinal garden flag for the curbside mailbox. And the matching metal ornament hung on the side gate. Plus the blue spruce wreathe for the lamp post. Then the winter pine-cone, poinsettia, fruit-infused wreathe with tiny wrapped gifts for the back door. I mean who puts Christmas wreathes on their back doors in California! But it got me to thinking.

Advent is a season of preparation. A season of waiting. A season of anticipation. A season of adventure…especially when old traditions break with old routines and are seen afresh. As Celeste Allen says in her delightful Advent devotional¬†The Road to Bethlehem – Musings on the Coming King, “every breath is ‘a thing about to happen.'” So every door has been made ready to welcome those who come, especially the coming King. May all the doors of my life be a welcome entry because through Him, who has turned routine and tradition upside down, a thing has, is, and will continue to happen.

If the routine of tradition has been disrupted in your life, how have you been able to see the tradition with new eyes? How has that been a blessing to you? If you were to metaphorically welcome the coming King through your side gate and back door, what would grace these entrances that suggests anticipation of “a thing about to happen?”

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2 comments to Routine

  • Velma Everton

    It sounds as if you are well on your way to being ready for Christmas. I have barely started but with most of my family coming I will get it together along with candy, cookies and getting carpets cleaned. One son-in-law is allergic to my cats so I try especially hard to clean before he gets here. Have a wonderful holiday season with all your old and new traditions you are starting. And you get to celebrate Christmas with your little ones.


  • Nadean

    Beautiful words, Lynne!

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