Pastor Larson’s Corner: Expectant joy

Pastor Larsons Corner

When I was a child, I loved the tradition of Advent candles. With the lighting of each Advent candle during the weeks before Christmas, my expectations of what was coming grew. I am sure that my excitement was focused principally on the gift-giving traditions of Christmas, but I know that there was much more to it than that.

I enjoyed everything about Christmas: being together with family and friends, the holiday baking and meals, the carols of Christmas, and the decorations. I particularly enjoyed all the things that were happening at church: the Christmas program, the great music we sang in choir, and the story—the beautiful story of the Child born in a manger. The closer we came to Christmas the more excited and expectant I was in the deepest parts of my being.

One of the great biblical texts of Advent is the story of Mary’s cousin Elizabeth coming to tell her the significance of the child she would shortly be giving birth to. Mary could not contain her excitement and she responded to the news with a beautiful hymn of praise to God, the Magnificat. “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.” Mary could not contain her feeling of joy over the birth of her child.

As we wait again this Advent season to celebrate the birth of our Lord, let us do so with this same kind of expectant joy. Our expectations have the power to bring both the joy and the excitement of Christmas to life in us. Our expectations will heighten with the lighting of each Advent candle. These expectations can make Christmas one of the most powerful and uplifting events in our lives each year.

Pastor Larson’s Corner is written by Jerry Larson and appears weekly in the Norwegian American Weekly.

Pastor Jerry Larson retired to his cabin in Zimmerman, Minn., after 39 years in parish ministry for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. In 2011 he published a book entitled “Speaking the Word Freely: Writing with purpose, preaching with power.” Contact him at

This article originally appeared in the Nov. 27, 2015, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly.

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The Norwegian American is North America's oldest and only Norwegian newspaper, published since May 17, 1889.