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Mary and Joseph are traveling toward Bethlehem. In Sunday school we talk about the prophets pointing the way, the shepherds coming to see, the couple on the journey. I wonder though, what did they leave behind?

Surely, Mary was not planning to travel right before her baby was born. She would have made plans to be home, with family who could help with the birth, with food, with chores, with what to do when this newborn babe was born! As she traveled slowly toward a different town, I imagine she gradually let go of those expectations. And she and Joseph probably had a host of feelings about it all. Anger, fear, panic, excitement, sadness, love, hope, joy….

As we travel through the darkness of Advent, I hope you will allow all the feelings to arise. Notice them, just notice them and give yourself permission to have any feeling in any moment of this season. It is not all bells and holly! There is much to grieve and much to leave behind as we move into the new beginning of Advent.

Children also feel sadness and fear during this time, even in the midst of Santa-filled fantasies. They miss loved ones, they worry about transitions in the family, they have nightmares. Take some time this week to be with family, unstructured time spent walking, talking, playing a game, reading a book. Slow down and allow the feelings to come.

There is time for healing in Advent. As we tell stories in the darkness it allows us to be with our sadness, to feel the emotions, to slowly let the light shine on our story and bring hope to it.

When I trust in God,
it’s like being wrapped
in a warm blanket.
With God on my side,
i am not scared of anything
not during the day,
not during the night.
Psalm 91


Another in our series of Advent Meditations. Laura Thornton is the Children’s Minister at All Saints Church in Pasadena.

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