Margaret’s First Advent: Finding Joy through a child’s eyes

“Margaret’s First Advent” 

We are entering the season of advent. Sunday, December 1st is the first day of Advent. But our culture would have us believe it’s the season of more of everything from Santa Clause to presents. I got a magazine the other day from an *online store* full of children’s toys and stickers so that my child could mark her favorite toys. Sprinkled throughout the magazine are words about joy and celebration. 

Fortunately, at this stage in her life, my daughter is very excited by things that are not actually toys. She enjoys pulling my hair, sticking things in her mouth, music, and staring at the fan. She is at that delightful stage where she sticks everything in her mouth. And if I gave her the magazine from this *online store* I would receive a ripped and slobbery magazine in return with no greater clue to her happiness. 

From a young age I have been highly influenced by our consumerist culture, I wanted to be special and different. I wanted what I wanted and I wanted it now. And the rise of a certain *online store* where I can order anything with a couple of clicks, and it will be at my doorstep the next day has only made it worse. I also blame Instagram for showing me all the fun and lovely things. It seems like I don’t even realize how much I want new things all the time. And so in the midst of this daily affront of things that I need, enter the pre- Christmas season where there is also expectation. My other great struggle is wanting people to love me so I want to exceed everyone’s expectations and everyone to think I am amazing. The Christmas season can seem like the worst mix for a person like me who struggles with both the desire to have more and the desire to please more. 

But when we look at The WORD I see a totally different perspective. The first Christmas involved one gift and not everyone was pleased by his presence. 

“And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord!” Luke 2:10

The first Christmas, was full of joy and that one gift was Jesus. 

It’s so easy for me to get distracted by my to do list, my gift list, and my delicious recipes to try this Christmas list. I sometimes forget that joy can be in the simplest things. Joy is often found in less. Which is why I have a big lesson to learn from my daughter this year. She doesn’t need more stuff, she is content with whatever I put in front of her (until nap time!). I want to be more like Mary the Mother of God who says, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit ReJOIces with God my Savior” Luke 1:46-47. I want to continue to foster this simply joy in my daughter and live into being joyful in all circumstances. 

May the God who is able to do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine bless your family this advent with the simple joys faith, hope and love . 

Rachel Schwandt attends St. Timothy’s Anglican church with her husband Fr. Michael and her daughter, Margaret. Rachel serves on both the women’s ministry team for her church and for the Diocese. Weekdays find her at Texas Children’s where she works as a nurse.

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