What is the secret of Advent? I’m so glad you asked. I’ve been toying with the concept for weeks. I’ve come to realize that having something to look forward to is kindle for the human soul. It’s part of the appeal of Christmas, waiting and hoping for the most basic of gifts, that sense of peace and wellbeing. But darkness beckons even the most jolly of souls.
I am not prone to depression, but as the nights expand, I feel entombed by the darkness. There is a ton of research that claims the holidays are typically a depressing and lonely time for many (you can google it if you don’t believe me), of course when this did not apply to me, I dismissed the data. I’m beginning to realize how frightening it is to face the darkness alone. As if a bear, I would rather hibernate, and open my eyes in the spring.
I’ve been lucky because finding rays of hope in just about anything happens to be a talent of mine. That first cup of coffee, a new book to read, clean sheets to slip into, hot showers to savor, a strangers smile, the smell of a baby, a drive to the coast, my granddaughters voice, a call from my sister, a neighbor stopping in for a glass of wine, going to the lake, catching a movie, good slippers, warm towels, did I mention coffee? I think you get the picture. I’m easily amused. I’m even thankful for the common cold which allowed me more time with my granddaughters recently as my daughter had to run back and forth to the doctor. I’ll take what I can get!
These are simple things I latch onto that gives me hope. If you pause for a second I’m sure you can come up with countless sources of your own. For me it’s about the implication, even though I am an imperfect human being, I am worthy of kindness and love. Albeit undeserved.
“There are many tenets of Wholeheartedness, but at its very core is vulnerability and worthiness; facing uncertainty, exposure, and emotional risks, and knowing that I am enough.” Brene Brown
I think at times the ramping up for Christmas is so stressful I forget I need the waiting and anticipating as much as the birth. What can I learn as I wait in joyful hope? If I gently peel back the layers, you know the things I use to insulate myself, like anger, pride, or worse indifference. I discover humility.
“Trees in the forest sense the shifting seasons and send their energy to their roots, their core. They know what it takes to weather the winds that race from the North. They know what it feels like to hope with every fiber of their being that the present darkness does not have the final say.” Lindsey Krinks
It is no secret that things are not as they should be, the earth groans as our collective wounds fester, claims Lindsey Krinks. I was listening to a presentation on Sikhism today in my World Religion class. They have this concept of time imaged like a wheel with spokes. “The whole universe,” says Guru Arjan, “is bound by action, good or bad.” Currently we are at the end of a long rotation but the good news is it will shift. Let’s pray this happens before I die.
Did you know the Greek word “cosmos” literally means “an ornament.” Sadly I’ve always taken issue with decorating the Christmas tree. It’s not my skill set. Here I am awaiting the birth of God, with tinsel and trinkets, but I’m surrounded by suffering and misery. It is a perplexing time. I can’t help but wonder if we are we a mirror of divine goodness or a place of “darkness” in order to make physical manifestation possible?” See this is what I think about in my free time.
“The act of loving brings hidden potential to full expression, and the more intimate and costly the self-giving, the more precious the quality of love revealed.” Cynthia Bourgeault
Perhaps part of being alive, part of being awake, means being in touch with this deep sense of longing. Could millions of people caught up in mass hysteria during Christmas all be wrong? Maybe there is a deeper truth at work here? Remember it is our failures that allows us the privilege of redemption. Think about that for a minute. It is built into the plan. You remember Adam and Eve? Maybe Jesus is not the result of the fall but the intention of the fall? We are in a relationship with a God that continues to become more intimate in and through our fallen nature. We might use Santa to break through the darkness but just beneath the surface of this most sacred tradition is the source of divine love.
What is the secret of Advent?
The present darkness is not death, it is a womb.
Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas. I’m still Living in the Gap, drop in when you have some time.