Following the Star


May the love of God create in us a new heart this Advent.

May God wake us up to be joy,

to seek joy,

and to notice Christmas joy.

May God prepare our hearts to receive God’s good news of great joy.


Strengthen the weak hands, and support the unsteady knees. Say to those who are panicking: “Be strong! Don’t fear! Here’s your God, coming with vengeance; with divine retribution God will come to save you.”

Isaiah 35:3-4


When my daughter was walking across the golden gate bridge at 5 years old, her feet stopped, and she said, “MOM, something is wrong inside of me!” She could not move and was having a hard time breathing. She had never felt fear, and she did not understand it. We often don’t understand fear. It can consume us and be a great enemy of living and loving. Fear can steal all possibilities of joy.

“Do not be afraid,” the angel says to the startled shepherds on the hillside outside of the little town of Bethlehem. Something amazing is about to happen and it is going to be unlike anything you have seen, known, or felt.

Every Christmas, something amazing happens unlike anything we have seen, known, or felt. It is full of great joy for you and for me and for all people. Even if you don’t understand it, embrace the joy of this season. Savor it and sit with it. Let the joy fill your heart and soul and fill the place where fear resides.

Michelle Thomas-Bush


I do not want to be afraid, God.

I seek courage for this day, strength for the season, and hope for the journey.

I seek to be fearless, God, as I come awake to joy and the transformation you bring with it.

This is my Advent prayer, amen.


The good news of great joy isn’t just something to receive, accept, or even consume.

Be great joy.

Offer great joy in kind, loving relationships with those you love and those you haven’t even met yet.

God is still trying to get to us to bring good news of great joy for all the people. ALL THE people. That means you. And me. And them.

Good news of great joy for ALL.