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Save Your Yes

Nov 28, 2022


This post is by Jen Shulz.


This year, I will not take my family to buy a fresh cut Christmas tree. This year, our stockings remain tucked away in storage with tote after tote of Christmases past. The Nativity I have set out as my focal point every year since my Junior year of college will stay carefully shrouded in its plastic wrap and cardboard.  All of these things are important to me during this time of year and yet, for 2022, none of it changes the pace at which the Advent season marches toward Christmas.  

As sad as all of those things sound, there is more excitement housed in those boxes than sadness. The storage buildings stacked with 20 years of our lives are the sign of something new coming for our family. Much in the same way, Advent marks the celebration of something new. 

The Advent season marks a time of expectation and preparation. In fact, the word Advent is a noun that means the arrival of a notable person, thing, or event. For many Christians, Advent is the first season of the church year, and it is a time of expectant waiting and preparation for BOTH the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas and the return of Jesus at the Second Coming. It is a balance of two elements- remembrance and anticipation

The cheer of these upcoming weeks leading up to Christmas are the kind of days I wish I lived in all the year through. In preparing our hearts to celebrate the coming of a King, we are reminded of the hope that comes with the Birth of our Savior. We are reminded that with the birth, a series of events prophesied throughout the ages was set in motion. As we prepare our hearts and homes for Christmas, we also find ourselves looking toward the Second Coming. 

So, how do we keep ourselves focused more on Christ and less on commercialization? Say no to the highlight reel. Traditions are an important part of our family holidays. We do our best to honor those no longer here by making a favorite dish, playing a favorite game, or donating our time in a way they would be proud of. 

While that may sound nice, I know my grandmas would rather me have time to sit and talk with my kids than to bake the oodles of cookies either of them would make every year. In fact, if I were to do it at all, I think BOTH ladies would encourage me to pick one or two and then teach my kids the recipe and talk about how one made the best turtle cookies and the other chocolate chip. 

I know that does not sound much like focusing on Advent, but the strategy is to save your yes for the things that truly bring your heart into a place of active preparation and not just saying yes to everything that comes our way. If we can declutter our calendars we will open up more space for the Light of the season to shine in and through us for others to see.  It sounds easy enough to apply this in today’s world, but how do we apply it consistently? Save our yes, in the Advent season and in our day to day lives.

I am fully aware that is an oversimplification of the pushes and pulls of us this time of year, friend. I am also aware that much of that push and pull created in my life has less to do with the outside world and so much more to do with me. I want my decisions to reflect my desire to remember the real reason for the season- the celebration of the birth of our Savior

I want each yes to situate me in a place of excitement and anticipation for the manger and the acts of unfailing love that come after.  I pray I am kinder, gentler, and more generous as this season of Advent passes. I pray that I not only balance the two elements- the remembrance and the anticipation- but also that I am sharing that joy and excitement with those around me. If I can do that, perhaps the feeling we rest in this time of year can become a year round focus and maybe, just maybe we can find our way towards living in a year of Decembers.


Jen is a small town, Oklahoma girl married to a superhero. Together, they are raising a family on second chances, shiplap, and a shoestring. She is a firm believer in grace, organization, and efficiency. She finds great satisfaction in taking broken items and giving them new life, likely because that is exactly what God did for her. She over uses the word shine, exclamation points, and emojis. Jen calls her children her greatest accomplishments. A natural born encourager and armchair warrior, she is learning to redefine her mission field and make the most of each day she is given. She has recently been promoted from breast cancer warrior to breast cancer survivor. She’s chronically ill and chronically positive- not necessarily in that order. She is learning to practice perseverance over perfection and longs for the day she gets to see her grandparents and Jesus’ face. Until then, she is just looking for Grace in the Grind.

Photo by Donna Spearman on Unsplash


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