Fill your Reservoirs with Joy

Advent Reflection, Friday, December 11

By: Emily Bruch

Many of our daily lives have been altered in 2020. Our large family gatherings at Thanksgiving were met with Zoom calls. Graduations were in small groups or virtual. And Sunday morning worship has shifted to tuning in online in your pajama pants with a cup of coffee. While these daily changes and losses have been difficult for us all, it is the anticipation that can produce the most anxiety and fear. Sometimes it is this act of foreshadowing that can hurt us more than the loss itself.

This year has been filled with a lot of waiting and anticipation. Waiting to see when kids may or may not go back to school in-person. Wondering if summer camps and vacations would be canceled. Anticipating when we would be able to visit a beloved and very missed family member. Watching to see who the next leaders of our country may be. And wishing to be able to gather together with our church family once again.

All of this uneasiness throughout the year has been emotionally demanding. And quite honestly, it has been absolutely exhausting. One thing that we have learned from this new kind of burn-out is how to truly find joy in the small things. Afternoon walks, extra family time, a hand-written card in the mail, and youth group bonfires are just a few of the many joys that have blessed this year.

We have now reached the season of Advent. This is a time filled with hope, peace, joy, and love. This is also a time of waiting and anticipation, much unlike the anticipation we have been facing this year. We are anticipating, preparing, and longing for the celebration of Christ’s birth. This preparation is not like the preparations we have been making throughout this year. We are not rushing out to the grocery store to grab a freezer full of food and crossing our fingers that we get the last container of Clorox wipes. Instead, we are taking a moment to stop and breathe as we prepare our hearts and spirits to be met with good news of great joy!

While the Advent season may seem a bit different to us all in 2020, I encourage you to continue to seek out those small joys. The joy that comes from our daily, mundane tasks. The joy that comes from thanking God for what has been provided to us. The joy that gives us a little more space to breathe. The joy that can be surprising and unexpecting.

Brene Brown once said, “Joy, collected over time, fuels resilience, ensuring we’ll have reservoirs of emotional strength when the hard things do happen.” Let this time of readiness fill your reservoirs with joy in the little things, for it is joy that reminds us why love, hope, and faith are so important.