These first few weeks of Advent Acts have been emotional for me. Maybe it’s because I’m in the final stages of pregnancy, my body beginning the pangs of nearing childbirth. Maybe it’s the simple ways God has answered prayers to reach out and bless others who may need it. Or maybe it’s simply because I’ve realized my own brokenness when seeing and experiencing it in others’ stories.

Like when I read of a woman named Michaela whose daughter Flo is diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy type 1. And yet, instead of letting this diagnosis paralyze her, she is using her words and her actions to build others up and offer honest words of hope — in the middle of pain, not in the absence of it. Choosing to work closely with Canuck Place, a hospice program for children, her Advent act to gather mugs to bring cheer to this hospice home where families find respite, a reprieve from their everyday life. Bringing a bit of light and hope. This intentional lifting up a broken hallelujah is beautiful to see.

And then I read of another woman, Anne-Marie, who is giving away warm gloves and socks to the homeless who live in a tent community in her city. Choosing to see the brokenness around her and embrace it this Advent season. A small act that whispers up a broken hallelujah.

And in our own small ways, we’ve been able to give too—gifts to pregnant young women, the chance to pay for a serviceman’s gas, to give an extra gift to a waiter whose family had an emergency, collecting coats, donating to children’s hospitals. And through it all I’m reminded that God sees not only our brokenness, but the brokenness of those around us, most of which we do not know. And we realize that if we’re willing, he’ll use our broken hallelujah.

Blessing through brokenness. It seems most often the way of the Father.

God speaks through our hurt. He whispers through our tears. He reaches out through our pain. And he heals through our suffering.

In doing good this Advent season, we are giving him away. Not because God loves, but because he IS love. It is the essence of him. Not something we conjure up or manufacture. We are giving away the very person, the very nature, of who he is.

And because he is love, it changes us.

This Advent season is for all of us. There is no exclusion, only inclusion. We reach out to the brokenness in the world and say: Join with us. Welcome. You are home. You are loved.

It’s the greatest conundrum of them all: Through our pouring out, however imperfect it may be, we are filled.