This time of year evokes sentiments of gratitude and joy for everything and everyone that has blessed us. The Advent Season allows us to pause and reflect on all the events leading up to our Savior’s birth as well as the people who were involved over the course of hundreds of years who were instrumental to God’s Plan. If your family has ever participated in the tradition of the Jesse Tree, you know that the ornaments hung each night tell the story of different events and individuals, ultimately leading up to the birth of Jesus Christ. As the stories unfold, we are able to follow historically how, after the fall of Adam and Eve, God intended to bring a Savior to his people.
Similarly, we take certain events in our lives step by step as if each individual story feeds into some pinnacle event. Usually it looks something like going through school, getting a job, discerning a vocation such as religious life or marriage, having children, and so on. It would be nice if our lives could be as predictable as that, but sometimes life throws us a curveball or two and our story changes course unexpectedly.
Maybe we land that first job and things are going well. We anticipate that promotions and raises will happen year after year provided that we continue to perform at our best. With everything moving along according to our plans, it is easy to become comfortable in our lifestyle and maybe even push the envelope from time to time by charging a few things here and there because the next raise ought to cover it.
However, sometimes our plans don’t roll out the way we think they will and we find ourselves struggling to make ends meet. Despite our best efforts, sometimes the raise doesn’t come or the promotion is given to someone else even though we have been encouraged to believe we would be the best candidate. Sometimes hindsight will give us the explanation we couldn’t come up with in the moment, but usually wisdom only comes over time through various experiences. But, it is in those difficult times when we have to remember that life is a series of seasons—some according our our plan and some not. Granted, it is very difficult to evaluate our circumstances while we’re in the midst of these struggles.
Which is why, in those difficult moments, we can look to the Bible and take comfort in knowing that God has a plan for us, just as He had a plan for the birth of our Lord which took many years to unfold. While his plans for us won’t span hundreds of years (even though it might feel that way at times), we need to remember that he loves us and is prepared to help us in whatever season we find ourselves. When we rely on him, we have the peace and joy to tackle anything that life throws our way because ultimately we are exactly where God intends for us to be.
“For I know well the plans I have in mind for you—plans for your welfare and not for woe, so as to give you a future of hope. When you call me, and come and pray to me, I will listen to you.” Jeremiah 29:11-12