Thursday, December 3, 2015

Advent for Nones
Deep in the cold and busyness of this time of year, can we really dare, we who have schooled ourselves in reality and take an adult pride in our rational world, we who take pride in our cynicism and worldly knowledge of what is, do we dare. I double dare you. 
 Can you entertain a time of longing and yearning, even one that you know is a hopeless, an impossible dream. Nickos Kazantzakis told of an old Greek who lived high in the mountains. Each morning before sunrise he would go out and call up the sun.  That kind of wisdom declared Kazantzakis is what is needed today. 

And that is the daring that I see is required to enter Advent.  The doorway which is the opening to the longing and the yearning that lies within the human heart is the threshold.   And it within the mystery of the longing and the yearning that the happening, not perhaps what one had hoped for but the deeper miracle occurs.
Advent for the Christian is a preparing for the birth of the Christ Child, for the rest of us perhaps the hope for the birth of new live, for the realist it is simply the returning of the sun.
But who among us sophisticates  has the courage to hope for what is beyond our reach.  And yet without the longing for something more in our lives, and remaining true to what we know is the real world, how can we call down the miracle of rebirth?

Let's just say that today I have stepped through the threshold, but have not the courage to tell you more. It for me is precious and I fear the belittlement of making it known to others.  Also I need so say that tomorrow I will possibly find myself sitting in the darkness. This is my Advent.  And you, my friend? 


  1. Hi Austin, Thank you for this. I have been thinking too of Advent and how it is a time of invitation - an invitation to hope and not despair. For me, it's an important invitation because the natural tendency, looking and the world today, (the reality before us), is to despair. Yet, despair solves nothing, so it seems that hope in the face of hopelessness is the only option - other than despair. It's a conscious choice. An act of will. I am also mindful of the linguistic link between "hope" and "despair" - thinking of the French word for "hope" - espere.

  2. Hi there Austin. I've been thinking about our conversation about Advent. I think my most powerful experience of Advent was several years ago when I attended a Blue Christmas service at a local Anglican Church. Very non-denominational, and thoughtfully paced with silence, darkness, reflective exercises, and the lighting of candles. I found it -- well, what? I was going to write "refreshing" but that is not exactly what one usually thinks in relation to Advent. But it was. In the invitation to respect one's own pain, and to mark the losses and griefs of the previous year, I found the service made a place, a real and nourishing place, in the emotional darkness I moved in then, and in fact, have come to see I move in, every Advent.

    New life comes from laying down one's burdens, from giving up trying to be strong and to keep going. Advent is the time when we accept that, in giving up, giving in, we make room in the darkness for something new to enter in. What comes to mind as I write here is a forest in the rainy winter darkness, with the fresh wind in my nose, and that scent of life begun. I think Christmas, or Solstice, is the moment when whatever is happening in Advent actually reaches the light. Advent as germination, pregnancy, mystery? Why not?

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  4. I do not have a specific faith by label or belief. I do believe in the ancestral spirits but that is not a faith or dogma. I feel it is an understanding of the natural earth spirituality.
    Christmas for me is not a special time although I will support everyone who feels it is special to them for their own reasons.
    To me being part of everyone's life and understanding other people's beliefs creates harmony and happiness.
    To me this mid season festival should be about developing and promoting harmony and happiness regardless of individual belief.
    Enjoying good company and being happy together celebrating for you the change from winter looking towards the new growth and life of spring.
    For us in the Southern hemisphere it means the coming of the rains and looking forward to the new harvest to sustain life.

  5. Sorry to be so remiss in my readings in the Blogosphere as to not notice what you are doing there;such a pleasure to see you finding your way with words to this tender spot where EVERYthing circles everything else.'s my way of answering the "And you, my friend"

    "That which stretches beyond and beneath the known, that which moves the world toward consiousness,that which impelled the universe into being,that which drives it still,that GREAT MYSTERY that seduces us to seek it out though we are permitted only the tiniest glimpses,with great effort, into its vast AND miniscule details.At every level, its incredible dance and ruthless, seductive beauty sinks me into silent awe.

    And I, my friend, in the face of this semblence of eternity,am but a speck in a speck of time for a moment conscious of all this dooin's. Privileged, challenged, finite, soon heading back into the void from whence I came...and going, well, everywhere