By Heidi Kharbanda
Calming instrumental music wafts through the room. Soft light glows from the Christmas tree. A plush blanket envelops me, providing both warmth and comfort. Next to me, a cloth basket overflows with cards – each card a reminder of the love and care of God shown through family and friends.
Finding peace during Advent used to be a struggle to balance the busyness of preparing—for holiday gatherings, gift-giving and home-decorating—and finding time to be still and remember the true meaning behind the celebration. This year finding peace is a very different journey for me.
Joy and peace can seem elusive when facing cancer. Each day is a struggle, a constant battle with anxiety and fear. Surgery, pain and unknown future procedures await.
Yet almost daily the mail carrier and my email providers deliver notes of encouragement or those filled with holiday cheer. Joy sneaks in through carols and Christmas tunes on the radio. Unexpected gifts bring distraction and delight as I unwrap and enjoy them. One Advent calendar reminds me of the story of Christ’s birth; another challenges me with a fun task for each day.
Peace can be found through deep, slow breaths or when stretching while doing yoga. Joy comes with the comradery and fun music during an exercise class.
Back at home, the ornaments weighing down the Christmas tree branches in our living room provide reminders of family, friends, travels and special moments, evoking smiles and the warmth of hygge. A tiny knitted mitten from a friend helps me recall the warm hands and hearts reaching out to offer support.
Even as my family and I traverse the world of oncology during Advent, moments filled with that deep peace and abundant joy sustain our spirits.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace. -Romans 15:13