For the Christian church, we are in the season of advent, a time of waiting in anticipation and preparedness for our celebration of the birth of Jesus. Here in the North we are in harmony with nature and the nature religions, letting go of this year’s trappings and waiting for the new.
December can be a busy month on the outside, but this is an invitation to open up our inner world, to take time to focus on what is important. It is a time to let go of those things that do not serve us, and to nurture hope for what needs to come. There are battles raging in our world that we feel powerless to address, but are there any echoes of war in our own hearts, any hatred or anger or resentment or blame that we can deal with, so we can start sowing peace there. And it is not without effect if more and more of us hold a vision of a better future, of love and respect, of toleration of differences, of collaboration for the sake of all and for our planet. Let us hold hope in our hearts this Christmas season.
December. It creeps in with the slate-grey dawn past the dark branches to settle with a chill. It is the month of zenith, a cauldron for the dark, backdrop for Christmas lights and fancies. It shuffles hungry feet inside and holds sway round the hearth. It is the month of endings and beginnings, of waiting for the rebirth of sun that now holds our remembrance of the birth of the Son. It is held by the universe of fir trees at our border, framed by laurel and holly and ivy. The sunshine-leaves of brown still floor the fields with the treasures of summer as the trees prepare to welcome winter.
In the dark we can praise God for lights, in the cold for heaters. Being without can mark our appreciation. And being never without the fine-tuning of spirit since God soft-footed an entry into our whirling world we can lose that edge of need, of promise. So this is a perfect season to tend an empty crib in our heart and prepare it – for God, for love, for hope. It is coming. There is a silent world outside, gently dripping in quiet concentration. But it holds the seed for tomorrow’s turning, for next year’s burning, for summer’s yearning. December is here and we are called to listen and to wait.