4th Sunday of Advent: Comfort and Joy

It has been a week of spontaneous invitations for me.  The first came early in the week for some shopping with my son, the next a few days later from a friend for our whole family to stop by for pizza (no small thing when she is single and our whole family meant eight of us for dinner), finally last night we ended up spending the night in Grand Rapids with friends.

So, this morning I am typing from my heart on my friends computer…since my post for today was in process but not finished on my laptop at home.

In the spontaneity of the week I have made intentional choices to live into what was being offered.  Letting tight plans became loose and my personal agenda drifted away.

Somewhere in that I am tasting the goodness of God and the timeless story of Christmas in different ways.  Saying yes to what’s being offered, tight plans becoming loose and personal agendas drifting away sounds like the choices made by Mary and Joseph and ultimately by Jesus.

Living present in it all, listening to my heart and to the hearts of those around me has been sweet.

On Thursday I bought a mug for my friend who was hosting us for dinner.  I had picked this ceramic cup up several times as I shopped this year, but was never quite sure who to buy it for so left it on the shelf.  But Thursday I knew it was to be for her.


I didn’t have time to write out why I’d chosen it, so instead I wrapped it with some Stash Christmas Morning Tea and trusted that her heart would hear what it was meant to hear.

Yesterday, thanks to social media, I saw her post something tender from her heart and it included the words, “comfort and joy”.

The simplicity of it all brought tears to my eyes.

I am one to think long and hard about the gifts I give.  I write about the meaning of the gift often, carefully choose the paper or bags and I tie “signature Tracy bows”.  I love all of that, and it can take up too much space inside of me and in my days…often leaving me exhausted and frenzied coming into the final days before Christmas.

The simplicity that has come this past week from the spontaneous living has been so sweet and has reminded me that my heart can rest more and trust more that in the end God is speaking to those I love, and His voice doesn’t need my tight planning and frenzied attempts at perfection in order to be heard.

God rest ye merry gentlemen

let nothing you dismay remember Christ our Savior was born on Christmas Day.  To save us all from Satan’s power when we were gone astray…Oh tidings of comfort and joy

Comfort and Joy


I plan on living into the goodness of the spontaneity that is marking this Christmas for me as these last days unfold.  I know some of what is coming and my heart is so full of joy, and my heart is knowing the comforting touch of the God who sent His son to save us from our sins.


DSC_0512Tracy Johnson is a lover of stories and a reluctant dreamer, living by faith that “Hope deferred makes the heart sick but when dreams come true there is a life and joy” (Pro. 13:12).  Married for 27 years, she is mother to five kids.  After nearly a half century of life, she’s feeling like she may know who she is.  Founder of Red Tent Living, she writes here.