Prepare for love, joy and peace this Advent
As I contemplate the season of Advent, I’m aware more than ever of the importance of preparing ourselves for the good that is coming into our lives. Advent is a season of preparation ahead of the celebration of Christ’s birth and the day of His return – an expectant time, a hopeful time and a time to get ready for the love, joy and peace that is on its way. How can you prepare yourself for the love, joy and peace that’s coming your way?
I pose that question as a realist.
I know some of you might be struggling to believe that love, joy and peace are on the horizon, especially in relation to your romantic life and especially as we approach Christmas, which can be a challenging time.
As a relationships coach, I encounter many people who are tired of the search for love and who are feeling demoralised about their prospects of finding a partner. I speak with people who are exhausted with online dating and who’ve run out of ideas about how to meet potential dates in real life. I even meet people who describe themselves as a ‘lost cause’ when it comes to romance.
If you can relate to any of this, I hear you. I know from experience that it’s a painful place to be.
But I also know, because you are reading this post, that you have faith. Even if your faith has become a mere flicker of an Advent candle rather than a roaring log fire, you still have faith.
So why not begin this Advent season with a commitment to get more in touch with your faith, to reaffirm your faith and to grow your faith, with small daily actions, with baby steps?
What would this look like for you?
Perhaps a few more minutes spent each morning in prayer or silent contemplation? Perhaps a few more minutes spent reading spiritual words or listening to worship music or Christian songs? Perhaps a few more minutes connecting with God by leaning against a sturdy tree in the Great Outdoors?
Think of your faith like a muscle, like a bicep. We build muscle by doing many repetitions with small weights. I know I’m always amazed when I see a small difference in muscle tone after just a few days.
Can you do the same with your faith throughout this period of Advent – build it up through steady repetition?
As you build your faith, notice what happens to your sense of hope. Do you feel more hopeful about the future, more confident that good things will come to pass?
Continuing with the exercise analogy, I know that a few days of regular exercise can have a big impact on how hopeful I feel overall about my health and wellbeing. I can go from feeling sluggish and downhearted to feeling energised and uplifted. All it takes is some tiny action and a willingness to keep up the routine.
As you grow your faith, notice too whether you feel more peaceful, more trusting and more held. I believe that the more we lean into God, the more we spend time building our relationship with Him, and with ourselves and our inner wisdom, the more peaceful we will feel.
With a strong faith, a sense of hope and a deep sense of peace, we are more able to appreciate the love and joy all around us – even if we don’t have the romantic relationship that we desire this Christmas season. Crucially, we are also well prepared to welcome healthy romantic love into our lives when the time comes and to experience fully the joy that brings.
By laying our foundations for love in this way, we will be more discerning when we go dating, more able to cope with disappointment and rejection, more able to walk away from someone when we know the relationship isn’t right for us and more able to stay and walk through any fears we have when we meet someone we want to be with.
It goes without saying that looking for love from this balanced, peaceful, trusting, connected and self-aware place is much more successful than looking for love from a place of desperation, disconnection, fear, urgency and hopelessness.
Believe me, I have tried both ways and I have seen others try both ways too. Importantly, I have seen people who once described themselves as a ‘lost cause’ find healthy love and marriage. I am one of those people.
All it takes is a daily commitment, a daily action to grow in faith, in hope and in peace – to prepare ourselves for what is to come.
I believe that if we commit to that this Advent, we can be sure that love and joy await.