As a young girl, I loved creating an “advent wreath” and I still do – foraging around outside for evergreen boughs, frozen berries, seeds, and pinecones – making a mess as we form it all into a circle on the dining room table, and place into its center four beeswax candles. Then, one by one, on each of the four Sundays preceding Christmas, a candle is lit around the wreath in anticipation of the arrival of the true “Light” into the Darkness.
If you are Christian, the “Season of Advent” begins this Sunday, November 27th. It is an annual pilgrimage of waiting, preparing for, and anticipating the birth of Christ (the arrival of the True Light).
However, you don’t need to be Christian to embrace the season of Advent.
The word “Advent” itself means a coming into place, view, or being; the time leading up to the arrival... In practical terms, the Season of Advent (whether you have a faith practice or not) is the time leading up to the arrival of the journey into Greater Light – the weeks preceding the Winter Solstice (in the Northern Hemisphere) when the great shift happens. Days lengthen. Nights shorten. Each day lengthens as we are gifted with just a little bit more Light – continuing to the Summer Solstice where dayLight again shortens as we return into a time of increasing Darkness.
Advent – the waiting time is a beautiful place "to come into being" – and If I choose to participate, I can enter into this time of becoming who I am meant to be. If I choose to wait in anticipation with a more focused attention inward, I can begin to recall the Light within my own Darkness, and witness the Light strengthen and grow with this awareness. As I bear witness to the peace of Light within, I will arrive in a better place to counter the noise outside... And, I’ll begin to slow down.
JUST AS A FLAME BURNS BRIGHTER IN STILLNESS; SO TOO, IN STILLNESS, DOES MY INNER LIGHT STRENGTHEN.
Advent literally brings a week by week brightening as each candle is lit - first one, then two, then three, then four. Each week as we light another candle we can be reminded to slow down, turn our gaze inward and “enlighten” ourselves from within. If we embrace this fully – we’ll experience a week by week brightening within us and a Lightening around us. In the culmination of the season, we will bear witness to this beautiful candleLIGHT – a full Illumination of exquisite clarity that cannot be seen in any other light. CandleLight brings with it the softness, the tenderness, the subtleness of LOVE. It offers compassion and peace - a respite for the weary.
And, I must confess, I’ve been weary of late.
Embracing Advent reminds me to slow down and take time to contemplate the greater mystery of my true place within the larger world. In the midst of the chaos and confusion of our physical world, I am called to ask some simple, yet profound questions. Who am I? How do I choose to stand in the world? How do I choose to serve? How will I tend my Light and expand it?
I know that in the cycles of Light and Darkness, we will continue to be called upon to learn the lessons from the waxing and waning of Darkness to Light...and back again. Time and time again. May our cycles spiral us upwards and outwards. May we intentionally anchor ourselves with Loving Compassion so that we may expand into the greater world with Higher and Higher vibrations of Hope. Of Peace. Of Joy. Of Love.