The Christian liturgical year spins the same every year. Advent marks the beginning, so by now the Christian community has already flipped its calendar. Identical seasons as ever, but, being a species of continual re-newal, it’s a time of discovery. If we’re paying attention, wonder even.
In Advent, we hear stories of Mary and Elizabeth, and some of us are uncomfortable.
In this most “feminine” of seasons, we hear stories of pregnancy and all the natural wildness that is creation emerging into the world. If you’ve ever been pregnant– and I know I haven’t– that season was marked by transformation in mind, body and spirit. Evident to the whole wide world, something changed in your life forever.
For our family, as our son Sam was ripening, Trish experienced freak-out as well as hope. Peace as well as terror. Her somewhat snooty vegetarianism found her eating beef and chicken, and life was out of control.
She felt the summons to surrender everything.
This is not a XX chromosome thing; this is a human thing. So– heads up, pastors and worship leaders– if we’re not emphasizing the spirituality of women in Advent, we’re missing something essential.
One text I wish were part of Advent is Psalm 27. (No one asked me). It has several distinct chunks. In fact, some scholars say it was originally two or three separate songs.
The last line goes,
Wait for God; be strong and take heart.
And wait for God.
I think our midwife spoke those words years ago during our home birth.
In Hebrew, the word translated wait could just as aptly be hope. In Advent, we are invited to prepare, wait and look forward. Good practice for life in general, right?
What is ripening in you right now?
How is your community swelling with new life?
Does it feel joyful? Solemn? Scary?
Any of that would be expected in a life-changing endeavor.
There’s something alive, growing in you. Ripening in its time. Welcome to Advent, the perfect season to practice this pivotal time as holy.
May we pay attention as G-d brings us to term.
Listen now to “Wait For God,” a Psalm 27 belly-softening song for Advent hope.
Pic by Ben Earwicker Garrison Photography. http://www.garrisonphoto.org