❝Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.❞ Philippians 4:6-7
Reflection by the Rev. Ellen Richardson
I have always found that being told “not to worry” when something was weighing heavily on my mind was not helpful. I have also been guilty of saying the same “don’t worry” to others, especially when their anxiety seemed contagious, or when I thought I had figured out how to fix their problems for them.
Some situations call for worry, which is an emotional expression of concern—more often than not about those we love and care about. Surely Joseph worried about taking his unexpectedly pregnant betrothed on a journey to Bethlehem without family or friend to assist with an impending birth, much less to give them shelter. Surely Mary’s mother lost sleep knowing her daughter great with child was out on the road, just as I do when I know my grown children are out traveling late at night.
We worry when a loved one is failing, aging, or requiring more care than we can imagine being able to provide. We worry when we find ourselves seriously ill, or weak and dependent on others to whom we perceive ourselves to be a burden.
Even Jesus worried about his disciples when he prayed to his Father to care for them on the night before he died. Jesus prayed for their protection, their sanctification, and that they would stay together after he was gone from them. He loved them and feared what might happen to them.
To worry is to be human, and sometimes it is all we can do is to offer our anxiety to God, over and over, every day. The peace of Advent is not one that dissolves worry, but one that holds it for us for a while, and sits with us as we light a candle in the window, waiting for the unexpected guest coming to keep us company, or for our children to come home, safe and sound.
-The Rev. Ellen Richardson