The journey we take is one we need to prepare for. In reading about pilgrimages, I notice the authors talk about what they bring with them on the journey, what advice they listen to, which they ignore. When I was a boy scout I went backpacking for a week. On the eve of this adventure we emptied out our packs and our guide discussed what was important, and what wasn't. I left behind almost half of what I packed. I was glad, because after a few days, those packs became pretty heavy. I could not imagine what it would have been like if I had all the extra stuff.
In this season perhaps we can lighten our load by leaving what is unessential behind, our fears, our anxieties, anything that weighs us down. One way to release these burdens is by opening our hearts to the presence of God in our lives and in the world. Look for signs of hope. See how God is working in the world today, and build on the belief that God is with us, Emmanuel.