When I process things I work hard to simplify them down so they are easily understandable and, even more importantly, easy to remember and put into practice. I don't know about you, but I constantly feel bombarded with new movements, new best ways to do something, new leadership paradigms, new church paradigms, new life hacks, and new life trends. It seems to me that each week I could try out a new way to lead and live my life to the fullest.
It is in the midst of these flurries of paradigms and models that I give thanks when the warm sanctuary of Advent comes. I find great comfort in the season of Advent. Advent brings me center, brings me back to the simple core of my faith, and gives me simple ways to live out my faith.
We church-goers of the Reformed Tradition have always put a lot of focus on the seasons of Advent and Lent, more than many of our brothers and sisters from outside the tradition. We do that in part because we believe in the importance of entering a season of preparation and readiness before the celebrations of Christmas and Easter can rightfully occur. I find it somewhat equitable to training and running a marathon.
It is if and when the discipline and endurance of training becomes a priority for a season that marathon day becomes much more of a celebration and great accomplishment than an act of labor or stress.
The simple virtues of Advent are brilliant. Advent does not over complicate. Advent gives us all four things to focus on as we prepare for Christmas. In Advent we are invited to stop the rush and focus on Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love.
I love the simplicity of Advent.
This year as I prepare for Christmas, I wonder what it would be like if I put each of these four virtues into a prominent place in my life. How might my focus and intentionality change as I view the world through the lens of Peace one week and then Love another? How might I view current events through the lens of Hope? What simple practices could I enter into that might help me live out a life with a little more internal and external Peace?
Who knows, maybe these virtues will catch on. Perhaps the movement of Advent in my life and yours will be inspiring enough to become a movement of its own as we work to live out the virtues of Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love.