I really love Christmastime. Of course, the gatherings and traditions will look different this year, as so much has in 2020. But in our rhythm of life, this is where we are again. There’s something comforting about that.
Even in the rhythm, I don’t do advent the same way every year. Sometimes we’ve read through “The Jesus Storybook” as a family, at least most nights. Sometimes I work through a study on my own. And some years, like this one, I don’t have an actual plan. I just soak up the goodness through a devotion I read sporadically, conversations I get to have with friends, and a slower pace that lets my mind regroup.
I was listening to author Tsh Oxenreider on Annie Downs’ That Sounds Fun podcast today and she reminded me of some important things:
Advent is the season to remember things in our world are not as they should be, which is why Jesus had to come. We are waiting for him to come again, and this is a rhythm in life that recognizes that expectation. All of the tensions and brokenness in life isn’t all there is; we have hope.
We have hope even though it took the kids and me three days to decorate the tree. After we cut it down Saturday, I realized we didn’t have any working lights. So when we were out later that evening I bought two strands of white lights. Turns out I needed another strand, which I got the next day. So yesterday we finally unboxed some ornamented and added them to the branches.
We have hope even when we have to sacrifice traditions for the well-being of our community. We have hope when plans get shuffled yet again. We have hope when we are pulled in different directions and live in a tension that exists all around us, especially these days when politics and opinions divide.
Even though we recognize things aren’t as they should and could be, we can still find goodness. We can show grace to ourselves and to others. We can do as much or as little of advent in whatever ways seem right to us. That’s the pep talk I’m giving to myself these days.
“Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus: Experiencing the Peace and Promise of Christmas” is the advent devotional I’m reading sporadically this season. I added it to a shopping list with other good resources. Yes, I know, it’s Dec. 8, more than a week into advent, but, really, you can still dive into these good words whenever you want.