Wednesday, November 29, 2006


This is my third Advent.

The first one was an amazingly sacred time. A friend had unexpectedly lost her husband, so I spent the whole month sitting in my living room listening to Handel's Messiah and knitting a blue mohair prayer shawl. I lit frankincense and would watch the smoke curl towards the ceiling in the gray gloom of the afternoon. I lit fires in the fireplace and would make pots of tea and be silent and prayerful as I knit. At the time, I still worked in the bookstore doing tarot readings. I remember it was almost painful to go there. I felt torn open, sometimes. Torn away from my sacred space. I quit reading there just before the following Holy Week.

Last year was an altogether different experience. I was unceremoniously dumped in the desert. I felt cut off from my spiritual community, lonely and alone. I felt no sense of God's presence at all. Instead, it was a harried, painful, empty place. No amount of fires or incense or Messiah sings could infuse Advent with a sense of expectation. It was just the emptiness. I couldn't even pray anymore.

This year, yet again, feels different. I now have a full liturgical church year under my belt and am experiencing the approach of Advent with a sense of awe and joy. I have grown to love the rhythms of the church year, with it's ebbs and flows. Times of ripening, and harvest, and fallow emptiness. Now as I face the empty rows of my spiritual field, I know that they are at rest. That they are waiting for God's seed to be planted, fertilized, watered and tended. That they will bear fruit, soon enough. But for now, in the cold, gray afternoon, the rows of my heart are turned over. Open. Waiting.


Anonymous said...

In the depths of our waiting God is knitting us a shawl...we shiver and hope to feel warmth, unknowing of Love's patient mending of our souls. How often we speak of God as Father yet forget that Love is Mother as well! Hopes and patient seedlings this colorful month...May you be cradled, cuddled and blessed at the beginning of this Advent season.

Rachel's Big Dunk said...

Thank you, beautiful Natalia!

Blessings to you, this month, too.

Anonymous said...

How wonderful it is that we keep coming around to this season each year and yet it is ever new.

My sore spot, not yet blogged upon, is that my sons will be with me less this season than before (they're older and more involved with friends) and for the first time in 7 years they will be spending Christmas with their mom.

Although I cry from the hurt I feel like this is one more field furrow where god is planting grace. It's going to be a cold, hard December here but reading your blog makes me feel warm all over.

Rachel's Big Dunk said...


I am sorry that this is a sad time for you. I pray that in the emptiness, you do, indeed, discover Grace.

Blessings to you, my friend.

Nancy said...

May this advent indeed be a blessed season for you Rachel. I had been anticipating my first "Episcopal Advent" since early October, so I'm a bit sad that I'm missing it. (I'm hoping to be strong enough to make it to church in a couple of weeks.) I sense Advent in my heart though. Yes, I'm open and waiting.