A confession and a plea for some advice from you who have “been there, done that.”

I have a confession: My name is Jennifer Walker and my Christmas trees are still up.  The mantles are still decorated and the wreathes are still on the doors. This has been the strangest Christmas season by far. The kids were scattered. I was recovering. The gifts didn’t get wrapped until moments before they were opened.  Most of our advent names of Jesus ornaments never made it out of the bowl.  In fact, the display is still sitting in the middle of our kitchen table.

It was the strangest advent yet. I’m just really glad that I wrote the Christmas book last year when we actually had time to do the things I wrote about.… Ha ha.

My eyes were opened a little this Christmas season. Though I wanted to make new memories and continue the special traditions we’ve had for years, what I wanted didn’t always pan out.  It was more of a “Grab and “Go” advent for our family this year – A drive-by-fast-food-style-choose-what-you-can-and-be-grateful-for-it  rather then the slower family dinner style Spiritual focus that I envisioned.

Through this, I learned something that will be valuable to me {and I hope to my readers} in the future. Want to know what it is?

We can celebrate Advent and focus on Jesus Christ within whatever time it is that we have.   If we only have time for a drive through style devotion with our families, and if we do that, then at least we’ve done something. And something is always better than nothing. {I learned that from the Fly Lady. ;)}

If /when I rewrite Keeping Christ as Christmas, I will definitely add a new chapter called “Grab and Go Advent.”  In that chapter, I hope to share ways to release the family from the guilt of being unable to sit down every night and have deep spiritual discussions.  I know that guilt – I’ve had it myself this year.  What was easy to do when the children were younger wasn’t so easy this year.  Though it saddens me that we could not do ALL of our traditional devotional activities this year, it forced me to find ways to slip in reminders of Jesus and truths of Advent into our everyday conversations and interactions with the family.

Actually, this is what Deuteronomy talks about in Deut. 11:18-19.

“So commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these words of mine. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Teach them to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up.” (NLT)

In a busy household, I’m learning that its not so much the length of time you have, but its being intentional with the time and space you DO have with your family – or with yourself and your own time & space of mind, for that matter.

So… since our Christmas decorations are still up, I’m still pondering this past Christmas season and thinking toward next Christmas. I was taken by surprise this year, but I’ll be better prepared next year.  And I’ll be sharing with you what God is teaching me for this next stage of life – the “Grab and Go Advent Stage,” in this grab & go season of family life.

I know that many of you have already been there & done that & I sure would love any advice you care to spare.

What did you do throughout the busy teen years to provide Spiritual food for your household? 

If you don’t mind,  I’ll share your ideas in a future blog post, and hang on to them for my own little Walker clan.  Thanks, my friends! 🙂

About SmellingCoffee

I'm a Jesus-loving, husband-loving, family-loving minister's wife and mom to two college kids, making our home and serving our Lord in the Mississippi Delta. I study, teach, speak, and write for the greatest Boss in the universe. "Faith, Family, Food, Fun, and Living Life brewed in the fragrance of the knowledge of Jesus Christ in every place": That's what you'll find at SmellingCoffee.com


  1. well I tell you Jennifer, I was outta town decorating a wedding Thanksgiving so I missed my turkey lol! Christmas was cancelled because of servere weather so no Santa but I did see the grandbabies a week prier then 2 weeks of the flu & here it is Jan & I’m thinking of putting my tree up lol!

  2. My Christmas tree is still up. Our advent was grab & go, too. We are just beginning the teen years ourselves with the first two being 14 & 13 with two behind them. From this vantage point, I see that the season of little ones where their need to be in bed early and have routine is a great time to establish those routines, traditions & talking deeply as they can go. And then we’re building on that foundation in the grab & go years. Doing something is better than nothing! I totally agree. Would love to hear more comments about this, too!

  3. I remember well what you have described! To this day, I have to shake that “Norman Roxkwell” idyllic view of how things should be, making memories, teaching Truth, etc. I have to remind myself that Jesus used what was in front of Him, I.e. mud, drawing lines in the sand, etc. one thing we did was that each family member shopped for a special ornament for each member…we called them our blessings for the next year. We attached scripture that was our blessing for that person for the coming year. Our girls always surprised us with how much thought and prayer they devoted to each ornament. Years later, we have those blessings to refer back to. Now with grandchildren, we have a special task of looking around to see how we can best help a family in need. We give them a dollar oing to spend on their family. I am compiling a book to record each year’s adventures. I believe God is honored in the big and the small…He delights in His children!

  4. I can’t wait to see what people share with you and hear what you have learned. We are not to the teen years yet, but I already see life going by so fast that is hard to get it everything. We just spent 1 1/2 tonight with our kids doing some “church homework.” It was so nice to be able to spend uninterrupted time on what really matters. Our church elders purchased devotional books for each family this year. Part of the devotional also will have you read through the Bible in a year. While my kids are too young to read 3-4 chapters a day, we have chosen for them to read the part from the Bible that is specifically covered that day in the devotional book. This has been a huge blessing!

  5. Oh Jen…. You had so much thrown at you this Christmas season. I so wish I could drop in, pour some coffee and sit by those Christmas lights with you. I’ll look so forward to reading what you glean from this season Friend. That’s what I love love about you…. through seasons of testing, trial, disappointments, joy, gladness…. you diligently seek His plan & purpose to learn and grow. Love to you my Friend!!!


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