Gaudete Means Rejoice? Yeah Right.

This is the third week of Advent and that means a week of rejoicing.

Long. Hard. Sigh. This Advent has been too? Too? Too everything hard. Rejoicing seemed to be off the table.

This Christmas season our primary home decoration has been an IV gravity infusion stand with all the attendant medication, syringes and alcohol preps. The other decorations that fill our lives are hospitals, infection, visiting nurses, worry, a housing market that’s turning our retirement into relentless debt, deep family worries, divorce, bleach level cleaning (my house smells like a pool), fear, discord, snow, and cold, never forget the Vermont winter cold.  When the bill for our insurances doubling the amount of next years cost  arrived, I just lost it.

I’m  so sorry Liberty Mutual Customer Service Rep.

For a moment Christmas and Advent just didn’t seem to be happening here.  Oh, maybe the book of Job but nothing New Testamenty. In fact, during my moment of abject self-pity, my life felt  like Old Testament shit right now.

And yet.

I sit warm next to a fire writing while my husband is finally healing. We have the healthcare to insure good care. I have read two books and my brain is healing.  A pork roast with local apples is stewing. Cell phones and modern technology keep me in immediate touch with family and friends. The sun shines over a mountain view so beautiful that it takes my breath away. I can vote without a fight.  My gender is not a reason to prevent my education and my education has been good. My nightmare is most of the world’s fantasy.

Even if it was as bad as it feels today I have a way to move beyond circumstance.

There is a reason to rejoice.

When God was born he didn’t come with promises of cash and prizes,  he came with promises of peace. Not necessarily the peace between men but the peace that settles deep inside and keeps us whole and secure.  Isn’t that what I want right now more than a solution to each  of our problems?  Don’t get me wrong, I would love the cash and prizes, but I’ve lived long enough to know that life is an adventure, which means lots good times, boring times, and bad times.  I know that whatever this time is, this too shall pass.. .or not.  What I need first and foremost is the ability to travel through my adventure with peace.

That’s what the coming of Christ offers – a peace deep within regardless of what  is happening without. He offers a river a peace that never runs dry.  He left each one of us with a special friend who is always there  to help us navigate.  There is a  cookbook filled with recipes for each, any, and every situation regardless of how full or empty my larder is, all I have to do is open it and believe.

When life goes sideways as it has for so many of my friends we pray for one another.  We send texts of praying hands.  We know that above and beyond anything else it is the God who answers our prayers who will give us strength, resilience and above all peace to keep going, one step then another.

If I live this peace then perhaps I can share it and it will spread.

And for that I can rejoice. We can rejoice, for a moment, a day, a holiday season, a lifetime.

 As Always,

 Beth

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