The Wisdom of Advent – Learning to Wait
Week 3: Joy.
The “comfort and joy” song (as I call it in my mind, rather than the awkward title “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen”) is one of my favorites this time of year. For some reason, the juxtaposition of those two words is compelling. Each word alone is fine but rather ordinary. But together, “comfort and joy” evoke a soothing warmness in my heart that settles my mind and opens my heart.
The words remind me that “comfort,” such a simple little word, often consisting of simple little things, is as essential as joy. Comfort can be a hot bowl of homemade soup, a cozy pair of slippers, or the vibration from a purring cat leaning against us. Or comfort can also be reassurance when we’re troubled, a card bringing words of love when we’re feeling alone, or a delivery of groceries to someone not feeling well.
I wonder exactly what words were the “tidings of comfort and joy” sent to the shepherds to hurry them to Bethlehem. The angel Gabriel delivers words of comfort and joy to Mary at the annunciation, comforting and calming her fears while announcing the impending joy of the birth of her son. In both cases, I find it reassuring that God understands our need for both comfort and joy and sends a messenger for just this purpose.
- Could God be prompting us to be a messenger bringing comfort and/or joy to someone else this Advent season, even as we wait? (If delivering joy seems too overwhelming, remember that comfort is also important!)