::The nativity sets have come down from the attic, and we are figuring out which are safe for the babies (none of them).
::We have been gathering together each evening, reflecting on the gospel reading for the day, lighting a candle, singing a few Christmas carols (which means our candles and Carol book are still gracing the table when we're gathered for breakfast in the morning!),
and opening a single day of the Advent calendar (and one of the little baggies, which contain an ornament each).
::We have no Christmas tree yet, but the Advent star is up, and there are always blankets around the house which are crinkled with use.
::Or in use, depending on the moment you catch them.
::There are Christmas things appearing here and there, including Christmas cards, which we've started gathering on our mantle.
::Oh, there's Spiderman. He has a way of making appearances in our house.
::I have strung up some twinkle lights in the basement, and finally sewed a cover for the TV, which makes hanging out down there so much more pleasant in the evenings.
Slowly, slowly, we are starting our preparations. Once there was a day when I would spend a day doing a decorating blitz at the beginning of Advent. Driven largely by necessity, we have shifted to a more gradual approach, and it's actually grown on me. Every day we prepare the house and our hearts a little bit. Perhaps it is hanging a decoration, baking a few cookies, or spending time in prayer. For the time being it means there is a feeling of things being in progress, imperfect. But isn't that the nature of life? We are enjoying each day of it.