Light in a Season of Darkness
In my last post, I mentioned crossroads and ancient paths, and how Advent, or the winter months, invite us to reflect on where we have been, where we are now, and where we are going. Though winter invites us into fallow time, how we approach that time is part of our journey. This dark season can either be something we get through and get done . . . or something we allow to transform us.
As this journey begins, I see Advent not only from a Christian perspective but even more so from a universal, humankind perspective. The title for these reflections, “Light in a Season of Darkness,” speaks to the communal need for hope, for perseverance, for reassurance, for the presence of Something or Someone that is bigger, wiser, more compassionate and loving, than we are. December is a season of lights for all sorts of faith traditions and secular celebrations because it is in the time of deepest darkness that we need to see the flame.
Advent is also a fallow time as the earth goes to sleep and rests, as animals slow down and hibernate, something which is difficult for most of us to do because of the responsibilities and demands and expectations of our daily lives. But don’t the earth and the animals hold “ancient wisdom”? In whatever way we can, we might follow the lead of that wisdom and carve out some time for spiritual hibernation. Perhaps this space here can be just a bit of quiet earth, of stillness, of resting in the sanctuary of our hearts and receiving whatever may be taking root in each of us.
In regard to journeys, we always meet the question, “What do we take with us, and what do we leave behind”? I have recently begun to pack lighter for my travels and not to worry if there are several photos of me in the same clothes. The pandemic has certainly taught me that what I wear doesn’t matter much, so I have given away clothes and not replaced them. Lightness makes it so much easier to maneuver. Lightness makes it so much easier to breathe.
As we enter this four-week journey together, I invite you to join me in spending some quiet time considering what to let go of this season. What weighs you down or hinders you or distracts you from your own personal light and joy? What is necessary to keep that leads you through the shadows to the Light? Ask for Ancient Wisdom to help you discern what you need, and don’t need, for this part of your travels, and may you, and I, be blessed.
Wherever you are
on your particular ancient path
may you give up expectations,
your own and others,
of what you “should be,”
when you “should have” arrived,
what you “should have” accomplished
along with worry over whether
you have truly achieved
May you leave behind those expectations,
your own and others,
stuffed in the carry-always luggage
you dread hoisting
once more above your head
into the compartment
above, already filled
with bundles and backpacks
of those who could not
May you honestly assess
what you have chosen to carry:
old records coated in dust,
ingrained “shoulds” that did not
arise from your own innocent soul,
snapshots yellowing with age
of what people think of you,
manipulations and mind-traps
of every weight and shape
to make you into another’s image.
May you rummage through your luggage
with courage and keep only
what is you,
by you, of you, and then
may you love yourself enough
to set your suitcase aside,
trusting the lightness
of what is precious
to lead you freely onward.
© Rosemary McMahan
2 thoughts on “Advent Week One, Day One”
Love the imagery in your poem and the questions you pose for Advent. I truly love this season! Start out with good intentions then the “luggage” begins to weigh me down. May I see the opportunities God places before me this Advent that will bring me to a deeper appreciation of this joyful season. Let us pray for one another. Xo Christine
Yes, praying together!