Heart Thoughts: A New Advent Tradition

The first Sunday in Advent was topped off with a great potluck. Thank you to all who brought treats and to Nancy Burnette, Cindy O’Connell, and Nancy Sawyer for setting up and cleaning up. By the way, the raves on Bill Taylor’s fiddlehead soup were being said as the pot was being scraped clean.

The Advent series this year is not the tradition that we have done over the years. I am very excited about it and had several comments after the service from folks that it brought up thoughts they hadn’t ever considered before. I know that I have made a good choice when I get feedback like I did today.

I am also doing something different this year, and that is, I am offering a Zoom call on Sunday evening to discuss the message and add some additional practices to do during the week. The themes for the four weeks are The Dark, The Body, The Silence, and The Wait.

I opened the talk with this quote from Valarie Kaur: “What if darkness is not the darkness of the tomb, but the darkness of the womb.”

In thinking about the times in which Jesus was born there was a lot of darkness in the region. Roman soldiers occupied the land and so there was the darkness of occupation, the darkness of exploitation and the darkness of disillusionment.

There was an ever-increasing number who felt that violence, not faith, was the most effective path of resistance.

Where was the coming Messiah long promised by the prophets?

On that first Christmas night, the mood in Bethlehem was one of despair, violence, and resignation. There was darkness.

I invite you to join me in welcoming all of life to the Advent table. The dark, the body, the silence, and the wait! We will eventually get to the joy of the birth…however, not before we come together as a community to spend our weeks in the dark, gathering together to embody the communal womb, being silent and acknowledging what we are waiting for in our world.

Together we are extending the invitation in a very different form, holding it intentionally and in community. If you missed the service, you can watch it here.

Here are some practices I am inviting you into this week:

  • Light becomes more beautiful in the dark. Commit to a night (or more than one) to use candles instead of artificial light (which casts out all tension between dark and light). This practice helps us resist our impulse to quickly switch on the light when we and others are in darkness.
  • At least once during the week, watch a sunset and wait for the stars to slowly grow in number as the dark uncovers their light.
  • Try doing your end-of-day rituals, like getting ready for bed, in complete darkness.

Next week, join me as we explore “The Body” for the second week of Advent.

A reminder: If you haven’t donated for Giving Tuesday it isn’t too late. We might have reached our goal but having a little extra isn’t so bad. Donate here.

You are a blessing in my life,
Rev. Patricia Bessey

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