This has not been the easiest of holidays for me. I have had a fairly rough year emotionally and spiritually. The holiday season has brought very little more than having to keep my radio tuned to NPR (not a bad thing in and of itself) to avoid hearing the commercials proclaiming the joy of proposing marriage in this season or suggesting what I should purchase for my non-existant significant other.

I have been reminded of how hard this season has been on top of just being hard; an empty house with my housemates out with their boy or girlfriends, people who remind everyone (with positive intentions) that the holidays are not easy for everyone, and friends who don’t seem to be friends anymore or can’t seem to forgive past hurts.

Sundays have been both the hardest and the best. Many of the sermons this month have started with the statement that the holidays are not easy for everyone out there in the world. Immediately I’ve wanted to stand up and proclaim that they weren’t easy for everyone in here either, but I know that the pastors know that to be true.

That has been followed up by the celebration of Advent. Yes, this time is hard and difficult in many, many ways. But the challenge of asking myself how Jesus comes to me in this season with hope, peace, joy, and love has taken the edge off of the difficulties.

Things are still hard. There are choices to be made, relationships to one day reconcile or not, and confusion abounds on multiple fronts. But that is somehow now on the outside. As though I am in the center of the storm where the calm reigns and I can sit peacefully and watch the whirlwind around me unfold in its own time and pace. And I can cheer the victories and weep with the defeats, but neither touch me in that place of stillness.