It is the first week of advent and just now, five days in already I have had some time and space to sit down and be still. To think a little bit about this season and what I am hoping for this year. People keep asking me if I am ready for Christmas and to be honest it hardly feels like December yet, so no, no I'm not. Basically our life is the same as your very own. Our days are full, we juggle some mix of parenting, work, volunteering, appointments, keeping everything somewhat clean and kiddos tummies full, managing minor and major crises in-between the connection and laughter. We are in the mid life years where our days often start before the sun comes up and find us about ten pm, hours after the sun has set in our northern latitude finishing up supper dishes during the first chance we have had.
Mid-life is a daily practice in being present and in making space where it seems there isn't any to be made.
I so often feel we live in a world that wants us to rush on from one thing to the next. Christmas decorations are for sale before Halloween is over, a symptom of a culture encouraging us to keep looking endlessly forward for our contentment and our joy instead of finding it right here in this very day. This is why I love advent so much, I believe. It is a season of counter-cultural beliefs and practices. As much as it may not be advertised as such advent is intended as a season of reprieve from all the doing and never enough and endless thinking about the next thing. A time to step away from the always seductive promise of bigger and better stealing both my contentment and my life.
If I remember to let it be so advent is a season of stillness, of waiting and repenting and sitting right where I am under the wonder of the full moon with the one who made me. A time for moving slower, pondering more.
Advent is a time to find just one reason to hope in a world where there are a million not to. A time for softening my heart a little bit more towards God who came as an infant - as a vulnerable minority refugee. It is a time to both ponder and act on ways I could further align my own now softer heart with the ways of God I don't always understand. A time to look for ways I could help plant or water one more seed of subversiveness to help kingdom come.
Advent is about opening my eyes to see the beauty of creation and love and mercy all around me, to drink those things in with my spirit, to remind me there aren't only hardships and heartbreak and horrors. Advent is about making space for hope and being still with a God who always works towards good and finishes what is promised.
(Mostly I 'do' this by sitting quietly, or not so quietly depending on which children are awake/around, praying and reading from one of these books or listening to something - no rules, nothing set in stone, just which ever one catches my spirit when I make space to sit down and be still.)
A Widening Light by Luci Shaw,editor
Book of advent themed poetry by assorted authors, all with eyes to see creation and God and faith in new and life giving ways, perfect for reading and pondering one at a time in a snippet of time.
Every blessing in this book has moved me to tears or towards hope. Richardson incorporates both beauty and heartbreak, which to me is the only type of honest blessing there is.
Watch For The Light
Daily writings for the whole pre-advent through epiphany season by assorted authors. I don't read them everyday but when I do they always give me something challenging to think about.
Wintersong by Madelieine L'Engle and Luci Shaw
Journal entry snippets, poetry, essays from two of my favourite writers. If you haven't read these women you are missing out on mid-life artist/faith wisdom from L'Engle and stunning nature/faith reflections from Shaw.
Pray As You Go podcast
Simple Advent playlist on Spotify