In my tradition, we’re about to start the season of Advent. It’s a time of preparation; a time when we look forward to, and prepare ourselves for, what is to come.
No matter our tradition, it can be good to intentionally set aside time to focus inward, to build strength and resilience, to prepare ourselves for new challenges.
There are four key themes to Advent which might be worth focussing on in any season of preparation:
Hope: Hope is an exercise in optimistic imagination. Not imagination as in fantasising, but imagination as in being open and creative about what might be possible, about what can be done, what relationships can be built, what can change. Hope is even better when it’s shared with others who are excited about the same possibilities and visions for the future.
Peace: Peace is the bridge between us and those with whom we differ. It looks at others across divisions and conflicts, and holds on in loyalty to the idea that the other person or group is worth persevering for. That beyond the divisions and conflicts lie real people with worth and value, and that our future is better with us in collaboration than in bitter and destructive habits of behaviour.
Joy: Joy is a fountain of refreshment. It looks beyond discouragement and sorrow and sees the charm and the goodness of life in all its rich diversity. It celebrates whatever is true and just and excellent. It takes delight in human flourishing, wherever and however it might be found.
Love: Love is what binds us to one another in healthy relationships which serve us all. It is patient, kind, not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. Willing to sacrifice getting its own way in order to serve the good of the other.
Would it help you to make more room in your life for hope, peace, joy and love, at this time?