By Christine V. Hides
This past summer our family took a 2,500 mile two-week road trip to six different national parks. We delighted in the unique beauty of each place and the peace found on less traveled trails. Between each park we experienced hours of driving. Some of those hours were spent in joyful conversation and song. Others were spent idling away the time on electronic devices. And a few were spent arguing over the little quirks that road trips seem to amplify.
Advent is a season of journeying, waiting, and counting down. Children ask, “Are we there yet?” We anticipate the joyful celebration of God come to earth on Christmas Day. Waiting can be hard even as the weeks are full of special events. As we say to the children in Godly Play, “The king who was coming is still coming. This is full of mystery.” How might we delight in both the often bumpy ride through Advent and the mountain top of Christmas day? How are we paying attention to the joy of God with us each day?
When we read the Magnificat (Mary’s Song of Praise found in Luke 1:46–55) in chapel, the children noticed Mary’s joy. The kind of joy that makes our “spirits rejoice,” knowing that through a tiny, unexpected baby, God keeps God’s promises to bring peace, joy, hope, and love to the world.
Mary praises God
“With all my heart I glorify the Lord!
In the depths of who I am I rejoice in God my savior.
He has looked with favor on the low status of his servant.
Look! From now on, everyone will consider me highly favored
because the mighty one has done great things for me.
Holy is his name.
He shows mercy to everyone,
from one generation to the next,
who honors him as God.
He has shown strength with his arm.
He has scattered those with arrogant thoughts and proud inclinations.
He has pulled the powerful down from their thrones
and lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things
and sent the rich away empty-handed.
He has come to the aid of his servant Israel,
remembering his mercy,
just as he promised to our ancestors,
to Abraham and to Abraham’s descendants forever.”