Advent feels more personal for me this year, a lesson in waiting, and a time to reflect on the darkness we are living in. I am part of the Anglican church, which has strengthened my practice during the advent season this year. If you are Christian, you will be aware that Advent encompasses the four Sundays before Christmas and focuses on the coming of Jesus. We light candles, read specific passages, and it is a time of slowing down which challenges the speed-up attitude we normally have towards Christmas. We understand that we are called in faith to live in hope, peace, love, and joy, which is how we overcome the darkness. My daily reading has inspired me to reflect on the deeper meaning of these words, asking what they mean to me in my daily life. We all experience times of darkness; at the same time, we can choose to lean into hope and peace, and love and joy.
I think it comes down to expectation, living into a life of clear expectancy even when it doesn’t seem possible. We know that mindset matters. We all carry what is often called a gremlin in our head. The gremlin says, “there is no hope”. But living in expectancy; means I expect my hope to manifest. I am not simply hoping. I am expecting to have hope, to live hope, and to create goodness out of my hope.
I am not simply talking about peace. I am bringing peace to life. I am coming into the room with love in my heart and on my sleeve. I come expecting joy, not with denial of the darkness – my darkness, your darkness, the world’s darkness. Yes, I bring that, name that, do what I am responsible to do, grieve what I need to grieve, and still, I come with hope, peace, love, and joy. It’s the gift I share with you.
Living this way isn’t for the faint of heart. The world is demanding we focus on the opposites of those four words. The world prefers despair, conflict, hate, and despondency. But still, we must persist. We practice without expecting perfection in the practice. Each day, we begin by asking ourselves where I can personally bring hope, peace, love, and joy to myself, my family, my friends, my co-workers, and my neighbors. What intention do I set today? What does it require of me? We do this hard work because we know that living with the expectancy of hope, peace, love, and joy is what brings change in the world.
We’ll be back in the New Year focused on the world of you and ways to bring your best self to work and to the neighborhood. I love our connections, and I appreciate, and thank you for continuing to read and sometimes commenting on Tuesday’s. You matter to me.
I am wishing you hope, peace, love, and joy this season.