Advent – the four weeks before Christmas – is a time of expectation and excitement. It is a time to reflect on the past and anticipate the future.
Since the first day of Advent begins this Sunday, I’m dedicating this week’s articles to the occasion.
One of the things I love about Advent is that it offers a concrete time to look forward. Advent literally means “arrival,” and while Christians use it to celebrate the arrival of Jesus, I like to also use it as an opportunity to think about the arrival of the coming new year. What am I hoping for or pursuing? What am I planning on doing differently? How can I make this year better than the last?
Here are 4 things that I’m looking forward to this advent and beyond:
1) Spiritual healing.
Last year was one for the record books – largely the negative record books. I was diagnosed in short succession with three separate illnesses, which ended up consuming a large part of my life. I worked my butt off this year, and am able to say with gratefulness that I’m largely on top of them all now. However, while the physical areas of my life have largely healed, in many ways the spiritual areas have not. I still struggle with understanding why so much seemingly unnecessary hardship has happened to me. This year I hope to learn how to rest more fully in the peace of God, how to trust more wholeheartedly in the goodness of God.
2) Deeper friendships.
We recently joined a new church – hooray! There has been an ache in my soul, an ache for real community within the context of a Christian fellowship, that has been unfulfilled for many years now. I am looking forward to plugging into the lives of our new friends and getting to know them better.
3) Increased hospitality.
Hospitality is a pretty big deal to me. Although at times I’ve struggled to find the right balance of hospitality and rest, I still want to fervently pursue that value in the upcoming year. I’m grateful that I have a husband who fully supports me in that. I’m looking forward to more random gifts given to the neighbors, more game nights, more parties, and more deep conversations with friends over dinner. Ideally punctuated by a healthy dose of restful nights in, too!
4) Expanded opportunities.
A lot of things happened to me this year. I saw a total solar eclipse. I published a book. That book led to numerous speaking and interview opportunities. I fulfilled a lifelong dream of visiting the ancient city of Petra. I learned the hard way how to handle difficulties…on some occasions with much more grace and wisdom than others. The learning and growing process never ends :).
2018 is going to be a great year!
What are you expecting and planning for this advent season?