By Rev. Elisabeth Williams
Advent—as they say in Godly Play—helps us get ready to enter the mystery of Christmas. But as we all know, there is so much busy-ness and activity during December that it’s hard to make time to stop and watch; to ready our hearts for the gift that God gives us at Christmas. And so this Advent, we are embracing the theme of “Hygge.” “Hygge” (pronounced hoo-gah) is a Danish word that actually has no literal translation in English but can be loosely understood as “cozy.”
But, it’s not just cozy—it’s so much more. Hygge is the art of building a sanctuary and a haven, connecting and spending time with your loved ones, slowing down to celebrate the little moments in every day, and creating feelings of warmth and happiness.
Hygge is the sensation you get when you’re cuddled up next to the fireplace in cozy socks, or sharing comfort food and easy conversation with loved ones at a candlelit table.Meik Wiking, the little book of hygge
Holy Hygge invites us to think of this time as more than waiting, but as a time when we wrap ourselves in the comfort of Jesus who surrounds us with his love, who has been in love with us since before the foundation of the world, and who is “constantly coming in for a bear hug of welcome into his eternal hygge.”
How can you hygge this season?
- Connect with Nature: Take the time to get outside and enjoy your natural surroundings, even if it’s just a short walk. It will lift your spirits, boost your well-being, and draw you closer to God the Creator. Advent and Christmas are also the perfect time to bring nature indoors. Not only by put-ting up a Christmas tree, but by decorating your home with foliage, greenery, bare branches, berries, holly, pine cones, and wreaths.
- Connect with Friends & Family: Although you can certainly have a hygge time alone, it is much more pleasurable to hygge with loved ones. So this Advent, focus on connection with your friends and family. Snuggle up with your four-pawed friends.
- Slow Down, Be Present and Focus on the Moment: Switch off your devices Get mindful and just be. Don’t forget to schedule time in your calendar for hygge moments where you can relax and recharge. Don’t let Advent pass you by in a blur. Whether your favorite thing is relaxing with a book, snuggling up with a Christmas film, baking cookies, or making Christmas crafts, make time to do it, and be sure to savor it.
- Practice Gratitude: Being grateful for what you have will make you happier, and Christmas time is the perfect time to enjoy, and be grateful for, all the good things in your life. Our loved ones. The roof over our head, and the food in our cupboards. Focus on what you have been given and savor each and every moment of it. It will bring you joy.
- Be Kind to Yourself and Others: Christmas is all about peace and good-will to all. That includes you. You need to take care of yourself – self-care and well-being are central tenants of hygge. Give yourself time to do what you need to do to recharge. But as believers, we live our lives not isolated, but in com-munity. This call to live our lives out in community is a call to pull others into our lives, to open our doors just as we are, and let friends just do life with us. Thinking of others and doing something good for those who are less fortunate than you is something that will fill your heart with joy and warmth.
So our wish for you this Advent season, even in the midst of the darkness and the cold, is that you would experience Holy Hygge. That with each moment sitting by a fireside or beside a friend’s hospital bed, you would feel the warmth of God inside you. That with each flicker of candlelight or glimpse of lights on your Christmas tree, you would let your eyes simply rest on the Light of the World as He comes again into this world and our lives. And that this Advent will truly be a season where you find yourself wrapped in the silent peace of God.