I oftentimes notice that a song is stuck in my head and I've been hearing it play for awhile. It is too easy to get songs stuck at this time of year. Every note and tune is playing again and again. The song floating around in my head lately is Charles Wesley's carol- "Come Thou Long Expected Jesus".
The phrase that I find myself humming most often as I cook dinner or as I dust my bookshelves is -
Joy of every longing heart
The answer to all our longings is Jesus. The joy of it is that Jesus is reachable. He was here. He was a baby, just as we were. He went through all that we have gone through and will go through. The peace in our hearts can be that Jesus goes before us in everything. We can take comfort in that knowledge that we are not alone.
As the days grow short and the errands grow long, these darker days lacking light do not have to hinder the joy. There can be joy in a paradoxical bright sadness. Even amidst what John Keats called -
In drear nighted December
It is the time of year that holiday decorations brighten the velvet dark landscapes. We tend to become overcrowded with tasks, gatherings, shopping, etc. Fill in the blank with that which fills your days.
Here is where we need to meditate on our Advent hope. We are not left in the darkness. We are to look beyond to what will come. In a B.C. viewpoint, it is Jesus coming at Christmas. In an A.D. viewpoint, it is Jesus coming back.
During Advent, as candles burn and the blustery winds keep us wrapped up, we can have both hopes on our hearts as we prepare for each. One hope has been fulfilled, and we get to celebrate the birth of Jesus, knowing the long-expected Jesus came in an unexpected way, and the purpose was for Him to die for us.
The coming hope is what can give us an outlook of light as we sit in darkness. We don't sit hopeless. We look toward the promise with hopeful hearts.
By thine own eternal spirit
rule in all our hearts alone.