The holidays have a way of rubbing salt in the raw wounds of my singleness.
While God and I continue to have conversations around the dream of marriage and family, I am usually fairly content with my single life. There are struggles and joys, things I love and challenges, but this is any stage of life, yes?
Then the holidays come around, and out pour the reminders that most traditions revolve around families. There are entire books written about ideas for making Christmas special with your kids—and there’s nothing quite like the joy on the face of a child on Christmas morning.
I brainstorm with teammates about creative stocking stuffers for their kiddos, and plan ways to spoil my nieces and nephews on Christmas. I open Instagram and see pictures of beautiful families in warm sweaters and scarves, open Christmas cards with sweet messages about weddings and babies and growing kids. I smile and celebrate these things.
The loneliness and ache increase, and I’m left wondering what God is doing in this season, for me.
This week in Tsh Oxenreider’s advent guide Shadow and Light, we have focused on the theme of preparation. She said, “Our faith—our trust that God is good, real and present—reminds us that Advent is worthy of remembering. It’s an ongoing, inward practice of letting go, of choosing to believe even when we’re not sure it makes sense.”
I’m not the only one waiting. I’m not the only one holding on to the hope of Advent, letting go and choosing to believe.
Maybe you are waiting for a husband too. Or a baby. Or for your teammates to understand you. Or borders to open up again. Or re-entry not to hurt so much.
What does preparation mean for us when we don’t know if what we long for will happen? What does it mean to sit in the waiting?
All I know, the one thing I come back to is this: my joy does not hinge on the answer to my prayer coming in my timing or in the way I expect. No, my joy rests in the Savior of the world who never changes.
The carols of Christmas remind me of the truth and hope that I need in the waiting. One of my favorites is Joy to the World.
Joy to the world! The Lord is come:
let earth receive her King!
Let every heart prepare him room
and heaven and nature sing.
He rules the earth with truth and grace,
and makes the nations prove
the glories of his righteousness
and wonders of his love.
Right here in the ache, the loneliness, the longing, I create space in my heart for joy. It doesn’t happen naturally. Most days it looks more like wrestling a toddler throwing a tantrum (in which I am the tired, hungry toddler). I must choose to wonder at the love of a Father who cares tenderly for my heart even when I am lonely. I choose to surrender to the God who rules the earth in truth and grace. I learn to be okay with no easy answers.
He has come. And He is coming. May our weary hearts prepare Him room.
What does preparation look like for you in this Advent season?