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Every Sunday during Advent is a time to reflect on a new word: Hope. Peace. Joy. Love. Sometimes at this time of the year, it seems that those are the last principles that we see operating in our world. Advent seems to always have a dark cloud around, especially these past few years. I find myself scrambling to find the light.

Last week on my day off I was cleaning and preparing to buy and decorate my tree. As I was dusting, I came to the table where my sad, nearly dead Advent wreath sat, only showing stiff branches and fallen needles … and only one candle with a black wick and melted wax. My candle for hope … and then the business of life and the tragedies of our world came about and I ignored the peace candle and the joy candle. I felt sad.

But as I dusted, I saw ornaments and decorations from loved ones that I have had for so many years. And I felt light creep back into my body. Maybe I should dust more often……

jenny dec 20As I dusted, I put on one of my most favorite Christmas CDs, which is Bill Cunliffe’s Christmas Album “That Time of Year.” I love this CD because it reminds me of my very first Christmas in LA. Every time I play the album, I think of that first Christmas and my first season at All Saints. I think about the decision that I made to move my career in a different direction, to sell my home and move to a new state. I took the time to reflect on that am 100% at peace with that decision.

I saw ornaments that I will later hang on my tree. So many are special in their own way. Some of my favorites are from an old family tradition. My father always bought holiday corsages for the women in his family. We wore them on our winter coats throughout the season and then hung them on the tree. Those corsages are still hung on our trees to this very day. I thought about hope. And I hoped that my father was proud of the woman that I have become.

I saw my lazy dogs, who were laying on a Christmas blanket that was given to me by my dear, older sister. They love that blanket and have claimed it for their very own. Every year, I fight them for it. I thought about the joyous times that I spent with my sister and how much joy my dogs bring to my life. I was happy to see them enjoying a nap in the sun.

I picked up and dusted under a snow globe that I have had for 25 years that was given to me by my former mother-in-law, who I still love to this very day. Even after the darkness of divorce, there is love. I wound up the snow globe, as I have so many times and listened to it play “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”.

My dead Advent wreath will make its way to the trash, but in a sappy and corny way, the mean-ing of the season lives on in the things in my home. Don’t we all need a little sappy hope, peace, joy and love in our lives today? I wish you all the true focus of the season … even when it seems so incredibly dark.

Find the light. It’s probably there and just needs to be dusted off.