Carrying Advent into the New Year

As we plucked our heirloom ornaments off our drooping Christmas tree, needles freely fell upon the floor. Dust had gathered in the corner, unable to be swept clean while the decorations stood. The holiday trappings sat festively upon shelf but the wonder and the shine had faded some. The time had come to clean, to wrap, to re-box, and to remember. Advent passed. Reality resumed. But how does one hold tight to the Nativity truth when the New Year pushes in?

With the smell of tree and cookie still lingering in the air, we are faced with the cleaning up of the holiday we enjoyed. Throughout Advent, we were regularly reminded of the hope that is found in the birth of Christ. Our voices raised in unison, we celebrated the wonder that offers joy and purpose in the midst of an ordinary life. And we were empowered to not only receive the love that God poured selflessly upon his children, but to also offer this love to those in need.

And now, it silently creeps in. A time to begin again and to clear the out the old and to dust the corner and I wonder, "What will we carry from Advent into the year ahead?"

Will we delight in his presence?

This story in which we have reveled holds direction for us, even now. We may have focused for weeks on His birth, but the hope found in Christ does not end here. Instead, this is just the beginning. Jesus’ life offers us a fresh start, a new perspective. If we remain standing silently at the manger, we will miss the wonder that comes next. That baby grows up. That baby forges a path that leads to love, to forgiveness, to life eternal. And it is not found in that stable. It is found, instead, in The Man Himself, in Jesus, God with us. The one who loved us so much that he gave everything to be with us.

Will we follow his lead?

So, while we sang “O Come, O Come Emmanuel”, the truth is He sat alongside. He has come. He is come. And even as you sit and read these words, he is with you today. He long to have lordship over your life. He has burst out of Advent and is eager to flood this new space with hope and joy and purpose. As we clean and clear the spaces in our homes, we have a choice to clear and clean space in this New Year for Jesus to lead us along the way He has created.

Will we let him equip us?

The year ahead holds much unknown but it also hold such hope. As we begin anew, the baby-now grown-walks alongside us offering strength and direction and joy. The truth we found in the Nativity, the promises made and delivered, are alive and needed today. We are free from the trappings of the holiday and able to fill this new space, not with material decorations, but with the hope we discovered in God’s good gift. Hope that strengthens and leads and overflows to those around. Hope that will lead us see with new eyes, what God is doing right now. And in all of this, we walk accompanied, supported and loved by The One to whom we have drawn near throughout this Christmas season. In this new space, He is no less here.

And so we make Him room.

About the author — Nadia Swearingen-Friesen

Nadia Swearingen-Friesen is a writer and national speaker with a passion for empowering parents to approach their families with great intentionality and grace.  Nadia and her husband, Mark, are the parents of four children and live in the Chicago area. Nadia also blogs at

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