The season of Advent has come and gone. As January is on the horizon and people (aka me) train themselves to start writing 19s instead of 18s as the excitement of a new year dawns, I find myself reflecting on what this last month of the calendar year has meant for me. Leading up to Christmas each year, I find myself drawn into the theme of anticipation and waiting that advent stands for. As the advent wreaths begin to be lit during church, I remember the beauty of what it stands for. But normally as each new year or 26th day of December comes, I forget the beauty of the season in an instant—being some sort of shocked excited the next year when the wreath begins to be lit again. I found this year that God was giving me nudges (nudges of grace, honestly) to remember and reflect on the beauty of advent and the entire Christmas and Christian story.

There is so much beauty in the in between and ‘not yet’ of life. I was reminded of this as I was flipping through the winter issue of Joanna Gaines’ Magnolia Journal magazine (the theme was anticipation. . .how fitting, right?! Jo knows). She says in the issue, “The anticipation that surrounds the advent season gently reminds us to look past our immediate circumstances to something bigger. To consider what might be coming with joyful expectation. To embrace living in the “not yet”—and to sink into the beauty that’s hidden beneath all that is still unknown.”

This year is an in-between for us fellows—some may even call it a gap year between college and ‘real life’. We are in some ways taking this year to start well slowly into ‘adult’ life. It feels like we are waiting in anticipation to see what life brings next. And the fellows' program brings to light the beauty of this in-between sort of year. I have treasured every moment. It is in some ways a tangible way of embracing the not yet of life, as Joanna says. This year will not be the end of some sort of anticipation or waiting in life. Can’t we all think of something we are ‘waiting’ for?

I am thankful that God doesn’t meet us in our waiting empty-handed. Christmas and advent remind us to look past our immediate circumstances to something much bigger than ourselves. That God met us in our waiting with a baby; the Savior of the world. We see from looking at the Old Testament that God fulfilled the promise of a Savior through Jesus. It is a gift to celebrate that this holiday season. I want to remember this as the forefront of each of my days, not just once a year. And now as Christians, we are in a new advent season—we wait for Jesus to come again. But that doesn’t mean that we wait for hope to start. Hope has come, hope has begun. He who promised is faithful.

Happy New Year!

xox Lauren