Tuesday, November 29, 2011
I have a special fondness for this season. It eases us into the Christmas holiday because every Sunday is assigned an attribute of the season: Hope, Peace, Joy, Love. Concentration on the attribute of the week lends insight and deeper meaning to Christmas when it finally arrives.
When I left the Christian Church and adopted an Earth-centered spirituality, I retained some of the ritual and adapted it to my needs. Advent became the Weeks of Waiting, the time leading up to the Winter Solstice and the Birth of the Divine Child. Why not? So much of our expressions of spirituality are intermingled, and I liked the idea of a period of devotional preparation as the nights grew longer. Several years ago, I began writing a little book of daily devotions for this season and called it Seeking Light In The Darkest of Days ©. I shared a little of it here last year at this time,and by next year I hope to have it finished and in print.
The Weeks of Waiting can be a wondrous time of creativity: crafting Yule tree ornaments and other decorations, making greeting cards, baking cookies and cakes. I also use this period to dig a little deeper into how I perceive the season and my feelings about it since my spirituality has shifted from one faith tradition to another. Whenever I need a break from holiday preparations, I dig out my journal, make a cup of tea and start writing about my anticipation of the arrival of the Divine Child, Sol Invictus, the Invincible Sun which returns following Solstice. It's a great source of inspiration for path working: Who is this Child? Who am I in relation to Him? Why does it matter? I will admit that I have co-opted the traditional Advent Wreath and made it into something of my own, that I have re-written the story to suit my needs and fit into my own faith tradition. The Advent Wreath is only a tool which symbolizes an underlying grace, and in viewing it this way I have no problem using it in my home and retaining the original purple and pink candles. I have also made wreaths very similar to the one pictured, which I think looks very Pagan and agrarian in origin. I love the harvest apples on the evergreens and the golden beeswax candles: there is something esthetically organic about that look that fits right in with celebrating the Winter Solstice for me.
I have retained the attributes assigned to each week because they are universal in character: Hope, Peace, Joy and Love. We are hopeful for the future with the return of the Light. There is a peacefulness in waiting. The triumphant return of the Light is a joyous occasion, and our hearts are filled with love for the Child who is born again. Days of revelry and feasting follow as the lunar calendar winds down and spills over and becomes the providence of Janus, the God who looks ahead to the future while not forgetting the past. The wreath works well in my personal spiritual practice as a way of recounting down the days until the arrival of the Divine Child and foretells of His coming.
You for Whom we wait,
Light bringer into darkness
Show us your Divine Self in each of us.
Quiet our minds,
Still our doubts in this darkness
In confidence we wait for You.
The Light has returned!
No more do we tremble in fear
As we are illuminated by the Sun.
Our hearts are bound together
In this sacred revelation
We see You, O Holy One, in each others eyes.
As we wait for the Longest Night of the Year
We wait for the fulfillment of a Promise which never ends.
So mote it be, and be blessed.