Advent 2022: The Most Powerful Thing You Can Do

Published December 14, 2022 by Mel Musgrove

Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. (Philippians 4:5)

Stay gentle, keep the eyes of a child. 
Don't harden your heart or your hands.
Know to find joy in the darkness is wise,
Although they will think you don't understand. 

"Stay Gentle" by Brandi Carlile isn't found on any religious chart, but it is undoubtedly spiritual. I like to think that Mary sang a verse like this to Jesus as she raised Him in a world that was quick to harden His heart and His hands. Perhaps this was in the echoes of great joy that was to be for all the people. Mary must have known all too well that her Son would go through life misunderstood and alone. Yet instead of letting the world make Him callous, Mary taught Him to stay gentle and seek joy.

Chances are we have all needed that lesson. We have known deep pain. We have been left out or abandoned. We have let our differences build walls instead of bridges. Or maybe, if we're lucky, we have been in the position to sit beside others in their darkness. We have been fortunate enough to help our people stay gentle and wear their hearts on their sleeves. We all desire the knowledge that there is still joy in the darkness. The reminder that although we were born into a broken world, that same world is made whole through the blood of Jesus, born into the world with the eyes of a child.

The gospel is our example of how Jesus stayed gentle and sought joy in the darkness. Jesus experienced betrayal and persecution. Yet it was in the joy set before Him that He endured death on the cross. Jesus bears our grief and carries our sorrows. Yet He turns each sorrow into joy and rejoices in our presence with Him. It is my comfort that Jesus came not only as our Savior and Redeemer, but as the earthly expression of joy fulfilled.

May you know to find joy in the darkness is wise. May you stay gentle. Because after all, it's the most powerful thing you can do.