Expressing Joy in Advent

Advent is a season of anticipation. We count down the days with happy expectations, waiting to celebrate with friends and family to carry out old traditions and embrace new ones, to sing a Christmas hymn, and—above all else—to welcome the birth of the infant Jesus, God’s own son, into our weary world.

It’s to be a time of joy, resting quietly in the promise of Emmanuel.

For so many of us, this Advent season feels different. Our gatherings are limited, our parties canceled, our worship virtual, distanced. Some of us have experienced loss.

Yet: God’s promise remains the same. This year, just as every year since His birth, we have the hope of Christ. It’s a hope we can depend on, no matter the circumstance.

We can view this Christmas as an opportunity: Perhaps, we can find the time to truly anticipate God With Us.

How can we express our joy in these precious days of Advent?

1. We can practice kindness.

Kindness doesn’t have to be complicated. Shoveling a stranger’s sidewalk, leaving extra cookies at a neighbor’s door, sending an encouraging note to a faraway friend—these are simple gestures that can often get neglected in our rush to get through the holidays.

This season, focus on kindness, patience and understanding.

“Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action.” 1 John 3:18

1. We can give with purpose.

When the Magi visited Christ, they brought gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, carefully chosen especially for the newborn King. Gift-giving was never intended to be an obligation. If you choose to exchange gifts with loved ones this year, do it as an expression of love.

There are many ways to give generously. If you have time, spend it at a local charity. If you have a talent, offer it to your congregation or an organization that needs help. If you have money, gift it where it’s needed.

“Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them; 4 for all of them have contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in all she had to live on.” Luke 21:3-4

1. We can read scripture.

In this different time, when physically gathering together is discouraged, we can find comfort in scripture. Look for a resource that inspires you, be it a daily devotional (like this one from Brethren Press) or a weekly online service.

We may not be able to join our voices together this Advent, but we can sing with the angels:

“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!” Luke 2:14

Sending blessings for your Advent Season; may it be filled with great joy and watchful anticipation.