We think we are in control of our life. After all, isn’t life good? There’s the stimulating job, friendly coworkers, a great boss, nice place to live, friends willing to talk and listen. Then out of the blue a seemingly random or even predictable event occurs which we think we can handle. But for reasons in or out of our control—a previously scheduled commitment, an illness, competing priorities which zap our energies—the event sends us into a tailspin with life-altering results, be they little or big ones. We can easily fall into discouragement, apathy, or even depression, doubting our personal worthiness and engaging in repetitious “if-only” self-questioning. The season of Advent reminds us that hope and grace and strength are not beyond us. Those qualities accompanied the parents of the One sent to save us, and those same qualities can accompany us in our time of challenge.