Advent: One of my favorite seasons… Yay!
Advent is a special time of waiting, preparing, expecting, and hoping. It’s a wonderful season. I must admit, my husband claims to enjoy the week prior to any grand event (vacation, our wedding, special holidays, etc.) almost more than the event itself. He knows how to savor the spirit of anticipation. I’ve always admired that about him. For Christians, advent is the supreme time of anticipation; advent brings with it some of the most wonderful feelings and attitudes shared by humankind.
Expectations are healthy; preparing is wise. Filling our hearts with positive energy lifts our spirits so we find ourselves in better moods, having more upbeat energy, and conveying more optimistic outlooks. This looking forward with open, eager hearts brings us joy and satisfaction. Reflecting upon the coming of Christ is one of our most gratifying blessings. Jesus’ humanity profusely demonstrates the ultimate in love. I often speak about the love I receive from my dogs - it’s unconditional. How much greater and deeper is God’s unconditional love? The coming of Christ, the selfless gift of His life as given to us proves this beyond measure. How precious! Not just in advent, but every day, may we revel in the glorious feelings of being cherished by our Father in heaven.
We also remember Jesus’s words, “We know not when the hour will come.” Being prepared is good; yet it is more constructive to do so without rigidity. We plan best with an open mind. Because as we know, despite all preparations we can never be totally sure of anything (other than that life is finite, which is a different movement forward and a topic for another newsletter). We make arrangements for where we are heading, aware that destiny may have other ideas for us. Therefore we remain ready with both plans and the ability to adapt when or if necessary.
Here is an example: My family recently had a unique and intensely challenging day where many, many, things went wrong: health issues, fears, anxieties, getting lost, vehicles breaking down, house systems failing… all in the same 24 hours. I felt at my wits’ end. After one additional setback while desperate to prepare for a rough road including sudden surgery, I had an “ah-ha” moment. I can make all the plans and preparations for this impending event I want, but I still have to be ready for “life” (i.e. hassles, challenges, hardships, surprises, unpleasant happenings). Moreover, as I took a deep breath, I realized that one of the problems that same day (suddenly being without water) led me to comfort. Sure it was horrible. Yes, I panicked. Of course I felt desolation. But, in one quiet moment the next morning, I realized something. After a day that would take an entire page to explain (and so I won’t elaborate further), our neighbor came to our aid, offering jugs of water and listening. She lended a shoulder and then, she hugged me. I needed that. The water system failure led me to her. It wasn’t a disaster; it was a gift -- like an angel sent to hold my hand. I could see it clearly once the storm had started to settle.
I believe I was reminded of this simple idea: We look forward to good times; we look for lessons in others.
As I attempt to articulate all these thoughts into a sensible theme, I come up with the following: Life is most healthy when based on a tri-fold perspective. Becoming too enmeshed on any one side of the triangle bogs us down. We lose our joy and forget our purpose. When our viewpoint is skewed, it often leaves us feeling lonely, perhaps even hopeless. Grasping a more equal hold between the sides is a good way to move into and remain in a better place.
The three perspectives come from our past, present, and future:
While we relish in the season of Advent to celebrate the coming of Christ, may we also understand that each day in our life is a sort-of advent as well. We can rejoice in trusting His love, mercy, compassion, and His desire for us to seek Him through simple actions of loving one another. Love is giving, and Christmas represents the ultimate giving -- of God to humanity. Giving of oneself is intimidating sometimes, but rewarding beyond measure. I pray we hold the spirit of giving in our hearts now and perhaps all year long.
Knowing His words are encouraging us to be ready at all times, my wish for each of you is that the spirit of Christmas, with its peace, hope, harmony, and joy can remain with you a little bit longer each year, until it lives in your heart all twelve months. If this special spirit that blossoms in ourselves and others this time of year can shine a light when the unexpected happens; if we can recognize Jesus in others who reach out to us during those times, imagine what a wonderful life that might bring! Wouldn't it be magnificent if the brilliant attitude of advent’s anticipation could remain and sustain us?
God Bless and Merry Christmas!
Lillian Corrigan uses writing to learn, inspire and encourage both others and herself. No stranger to devastating, life-altering hardship and loss, she's begun working as a motivational author.