Every year, the older I get, the more I appreciate Advent. Every year I love the grief and the hope more, the reminders of joy, the candles, the sometimes somber hymns. I loved Advent as a little girl because I loved sitting with my family and lighting the Advent candles, every week another one until we get to Christmas. But as an adult Advent feels like a gift unto itself, something that teaches me something new every year, a continual unwrapping of meaning and symbolism. And to be honest, it is not just a gift; it is something I desperately need.
The third week (this week) is always the hard one for me. The rest are easy: hope (yes, always) peace (yes, we could use a lot of that) and love (love love love). But joy is the hard one, because looking around it is so easy to question what there is to be joyful about. I, like so many other people, am so worried about the world right now. There is so much to grieve about and so much to be worried about.
And now is where I take the time to tell you how much I have appreciated the words of Sarah Bessey recently. I’ve been reading through her Advent posts this year, and the joy one made something click for me. And then her post entitled The Resistance has stuck with me for months (and there is a lot of overlap with the joy post). Go read it, but the gist of it is this: by being joyful in things, in normal every day life things, we are not necessarily burying our heads in the sand but resisting darkness.
Joy. Joy. Joy. So much to be joyful for in these days. Love. Goodness. How many people care about love and goodness. Christmas traditions and Christmas carols. Hot chocolate. Candles. Books. Laughter. Music. Cookies.