As the season of Advent dawns and moves toward Christmas, there is much upon which to reflect. This time of preparation, during four December weeks of journeying toward the Christmas moment is a blessed time. It can also be fraught with the pressures to consume and perform. I offer, therefore, in this Advent season, four brief reflections that begin with each weekly Advent theme: hope, peace, joy, and love. May their unfolding lead you to feel gratitude for yourself as a blessing and, in turn, recognise the same in the Other.

Hope: arrives with the care of gifts entrusted. The blessings you share emboldens others to imagine how they might do so for others. In the knowing you are there, others may so too aspire and share hope with those who courageously answer their own call of a disciple, who bears light into a shadowed world.

Peace: arrives in the moments when we listen. With the inheritance entrusted to you, may you recognise that central to the Good News is the possibility of peace. This peace does not deny conflict or challenge, critique, or review. Peace’s arrival makes space to listen, so a third way might be found in which violence is abandoned for meaning that allows all to shine.

Joy: arrives in the moments when we open ourselves to wonder. It is an honour and privilege for each of us to nurture these spaces and places for all of us as we seek meaning in a world that too often can seem ambiguous and shallow. Often this is revealed in inquisitive moments when we engage in conversations where questions separate pretense from learning. In these moments, when inquiries open new insight, joy bubbles to the surface allowing communities to illuminate shared meaning that reveals new possibilities.

Love: arrives when dignity for all is recognised as intrinsic to embracing Creation’s diversity. In the many conversations we have where joy bubbles, it becomes clear that Creator’s variation sings glory. In this harmony, the tune connects us to one another in such a way that we cannot but sing love’s anthem.

Wherever this movement toward gratitude finds you, in which life’s unfolding often dances between hope and hurt, loss and newness, know that the journey of faith is a brave and courageous choice to tread. As we await the arrival of Light that has, does, and will beckon us into journeys yet imagined, may you claim the gift you are. For this, and much more that words may be inadequate to express, know in your awakening, we all so begin to brightly and boldly shine into the shadows.