2021 Advent Devotions

Psalm 126 | December 6, 2021

Finding Joy in Difficult Times
by Elizabeth Thorne

Christmas is coming! For me, it is the most exciting part of the year. I have always loved Advent. It meant a time of joy, laughter, thanksgiving, and family. Decorating the tree, singing carols, and lighting candles have, for as long as I can remember, been things I look forward to all year.

The past two years, however, things are different. Last year, we were immersed in COVID and the isolation that came along with it. Now, I find myself in a very cold city ten hours away from my family and Advent has been feeling a little (okay, a lot) lonelier this year. It has been hard for me to find the joy of Christmas when I feel so separate from all the festivities. It seems that a lot of the excitement has vanished for me in the past couple of years.

In our passage today, pilgrims are singing a song about God’s works in the past, and the works that they know he will do in the future. It is a psalm about looking both behind in the past and ahead to the future.

These last couple of months, I have felt more like those pilgrims than I ever have in my life. I have felt more alone than I ever have. And somehow, I don’t think I’m alone in feeling that way. So, this Advent season, let’s look at what the pilgrims did in Psalm 126. They remembered, as we remember, the love that God has for us and has always had for us. They also look ahead to what’s coming, which we can also do. Because after all, Christmas is coming. This means that love is coming, hope is coming, and joy is coming. And this year, more than ever, I am ready for that joy.

Prayer: Dear Lord, help us to remember your good works and all that you have done for us. It can be incredibly easy to forget all the good when we feel lonely and isolated. But help us to remember. Help us to hold onto the hope that you give us and to remember what this time of year brings. We want to find joy in Advent and Christmas, but sometimes holiday anxieties get in the way. Show us what it means to love the way that you love us, and to find you even in desperate circumstances. Amen.