As Advent approaches I listen to music to help me focus on the themes of Hope, Love, Joy, and Peace. I look forward to one hymn in particular, O Holy Night. The lyrics emphasize things that I want to remember, not just at Advent, but all throughout the next year.

The first is the idea of a weary world laying down its burdens during the night. Night is usually thought of as a time of rest and renewal. This reminds me I am a human being, not the sum of my accomplishments as a “human doing.” It is good to rest and feel both peace and hope for renewal. I am enough just as God has created me.

The second thing is the joy of a “spirit awakening and feeling its worth.” We live in a culture that places more value on almost everything else above placing value on our identities as children of God. I find comfort in the reminder that my true worth comes from belonging to God and living in fellowship with my fellow children of God. My worth is beyond measure because God values me.

Third, the lyrics point out what I should be doing with my earthly life; “surely He taught us to love one another…His law is love and His gospel is peace.” They are simple words, but difficult to practice consistently. God first shared His love and peace with me so that I could share love and peace with others.

Hope, Love, Joy, and Peace are not just gifts we can experience through music at Advent, but gifts from Father, Son, and Holy Spirit that can be accessed and shared all year long. We are all enough. We are all valued. We are all loved. May we all believe this and live this throughout all the holy nights and days ahead.

Denise Stevens

About the Contributor

Denise Stevens has been a member of FPC since 1995. She currently serves as a Deacon, an Adult Sunday School teacher, and on the Communion to the Farthest Pew committee.