……Tell it as a story about darkness giving birth to light, about seemingly endless waiting, and about that which lies at the end of all our waiting…..~ Jan L. Richardson
Advent. Those who ventured into a church yesterday, may have found themselves plucked from their thanksgiving stupor and thrust into the season of Advent. These four weeks that precede Christmas, hold a slow unfolding of shadow and darkness into the full light of Christmas. It is the beginning of a new church year, the turning of a page on all the other seasons, all that has happened or been left undone, and provides a chance once again to wait, prepare,and expect the coming of the Christ Child. Advent can be a slower peeling away of layers that get piled on by our culture’s rush to get to Christmas, shucking its too showy, twinkling light presence for a more contemplative, quieter walk toward ‘that which lies at the end of all our waiting’. Advent can be, if we allow it, a full-bodied experience of the calendar that we received as children to help us ‘count down’ to the big day. Instead of a pithy statement or well-chosen scripture behind the calendar door, or even better a small piece of candy, to help us tick off the waiting time, we can choose instead to watch for the ways darkness gives birth to light, how waiting need not be boring or annoying but holds purpose and promise.
Several years ago, I began this blog during Advent as a way to invite people into a moment of ‘Pause’ during what can be hectic, anything but sacred days. It was an attempt to provide a few moments….as long as it might take for someone to click open an email, read a few paragraphs and then head on into their day. It was an invitation to a devotional time in the ordinary tasks of living. People who read seemed to like it and the fact is, it changed me. Writing those daily reflections led me to publish two books and to continue to write. It birthed something out of darkness for me.
Over the last months I have been involved in creative projects and personal reflection that has kept me from these pages. It has probably been a good respite. But I would like to offer this moment of ‘Pause’ once again during these Advent days. I will be writing here Monday through Friday for the next four weeks and invite you to click, read, offer your thoughts if you’d like and to take a pause from what ever is hurdling you toward the next thing in your day. I pray it might give just a moment of peace and quiet in what can be a noisy time.
Those of us who live in the northern hemisphere are held in the daily experience of darkness in these December days. Darkness is often given a bad rap in our culture. And yet, it is the darkness that allows us the opportunity to see the stars and to marvel at the idea that we are traveling in a Universe so big it is beyond reckoning. As I look out my window at the falling snow, I know the darkness is holding the bulbs, given as an anniversary gift to my husband and I this summer. Bulbs that, come spring, will amaze us with their color and fill us with such hope. And each of us began our breathing, heart-beating, spirit-driven lives, held in the darkness of our Mother’s womb. Darkness holds the shadow of the light to come. We would do well to allow its wisdom to wash over us, to seep into the crevices of what lies waiting to be born in each of us.
So….on this second day of Advent…..what is waiting in darkness to be born in you? What long pushed-down dream, what neglected hope wants to be coaxed out into the light? The walk toward the Light of the world is a measured one, an act that does not come quickly or on cue. May you find a moment to pause and listen for what is calling you, what is drawing you into the shimmering that lies at the end of all your waiting.