2021 Advent Devotional: In the Midst of Changing Ways – Many Gifts, One Spirit
Week 1: The Gift of Joy
Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 3:9 – “How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy that we feel before our God because of you.”
Reflector: Lisa Dixon
Finding joy in the 21st month of a deadly pandemic is difficult, but I have tried hard and partially succeeded. I will admit that at about month 10, I had a really hard time – not seeing my children or grandchildren for a year, our 16-year-old cat dying a painful death, and a sewing present I had worked on for a month getting lost in the mail. Then, seeing social media posts of everyone older than me getting vaccinations while I was not yet eligible was not easy.
During the first few months of the pandemic, I decided to finish projects I had put off doing for years, including going through old things and culling them. I remember at month 6 I was having fun and making real progress working on a scrapbook project, and saying to myself that I hoped the quarantine would last a little longer so I could finish it. Boy was I stupid to wish for that. But at the same time, finishing anything that you have put off for years and that is quietly nagging at you is so rewarding.
Early on, we decided to start walking all the residential streets in Boulder – something I would have never, ever have done without a pandemic. It was so interesting to see all the houses and yards. I bought an architecture book because I became interested in learning about the different styles of architecture. We are still walking every day, and have about 10-15 favorite neighborhoods to walk in. We used to travel a lot, but now our “travel” is mostly to other neighborhoods.
Certainly seeing family again post-vaccine and pre-Delta variant was wonderful. Taking extensive road trips to get there was more fun than I would have imagined. Spending more time with my husband on those road trips was very enjoyable.
So I have found joy in much simpler ways than before the pandemic. There is intense sadness with all the sickness and death that goes with this virus. And the anger I feel toward science deniers is palpable. But when it gets bad, I go outside and walk, look at the mountains and trees, and know how lucky I am to be living in such a beautiful spot that God has created. Also, I think about how fortunate we all are to have so many selfless doctors and nurses who have worked tirelessly to get us through this time.
We did not create this pandemic, and we can’t wish it away. But we can control how we respond to it, and how we find joy while living through it.
Prayer: God, thank you for the beauty and space of the mountains and trees that surround me, and help me overcome frustrations and anger. Guide us through these anxious times, and help us take time to find joy in our lives. Amen.