It’s nearly December and Advent begins this Sunday.
Many of us come to this season feeling hopeless. Maybe you’re struggling with your children. You may feel you’re living a life you didn’t sign up for and you’re grieving the life you imagined you’d have. Marriages struggle. Sickness presses us down.
Sometimes darkness closes in.
In this place of hopelessness, Jesus comes. He steps down into the lowly places to be with us in our hardest moments, in our sorrow, in our shame. Nothing is too dark for Him.
He comes as the light of the world bringing hope and light to our lives.
On the first Sunday of Advent, we light the Hope candle. In order to hope, we have to connect with our hopelessness. Even in the times when God seems silent, He is present and that first light of Advent reminds us He is near.
Each Sunday we light an additional candle and the light grows brighter as we anticipate and celebrate the coming of Jesus.
I’ve loved Advent traditions for many years, and have written numerous posts about the ways our family observes this special season. This year, all of a sudden, my kids are older and busier.
I’m thinking about how to hold on to what is dear while recognizing life is very different now. Our evenings are filled with basketball practices and games, kids’ jobs, and homework; often we’re not at the dinner table together.
While hanging an ornament on our special tree may seem childish in some ways, it roots us in our truth, that God’s redemptive plan for our lives has been in place since creation. This year we may read the scriptures and hang multiple ornaments each Sunday rather than each day. Imperfect is better than not at all.
We’ll use Unwrapping the Greatest Gift as a guide for hanging our Advent ornaments. The Wonder of the Greatest Gift looks really lovely if you’re looking for a way to celebrate with your family. The pop-up tree is fantastic; scroll down the Amazon page to see pictures of the author’s daughter with the book.
I recognize that if Advent is important to me, I need to put more effort into planning my personal Advent journey. I’m following the readings in The Advent of the Lamb of God. If it doesn’t arrive on time, I’ll start with the older version on Kindle, Behold the Lamb of God. I just might light my own Advent candle each morning as I do.
Advent and Christmas also bring our family into our time of greatest grief; we lost Kalkidan four years ago on December 27th. This is all the more reason I need to press into Christ. My heart is so easily troubled and anxious. My mind runs to “what ifs,” what if we hadn’t stopped at the mailbox, what if we’d waited one more day to make the trip. And why, oh why, was there a car coming toward us on that cruel curve early that morning.
Jesus says, “Peace, be still.” Be still my heart and mind. Light the candle. Read the words of truth. Anticipate the coming of my savior, the Light of the World.
You might like more of my Advent posts:
My heart feels tender and tears are near as I write this morning. I know how very hard holidays can be when life feels tumultous and the days impossible. When relationships are broken and our hearts are low, when we feel shame or fear, it’s hard to hold on to hope.
I’m with you. I understand.
If you need encouragement, I have a free gift for you, Hope for Your Parenting Journey: A guide for adoptive and foster moms.
I send you my love,