by Christine Sine
The light can’t come too quickly this year. As Lilly Lewin mentioned on Friday, Christmas trees and Christmas lights are already up around the neighbourhood and those of us who feel we should wait until the beginning of Advent, to set those lights glowing just can’t wait.
Celtic Advent Is Here.
Isn’t it great that we don’t have to wait? Celtic Advent began yesterday which means that it is time to set up your sacred space for Advent, pull out your copy of Lean Towards the Light this Advent & Christmas and sign up for the Advent retreat, a six module online retreat of contemplative exercises that you can go through at your own leisurely pace.
My Contemplative Garden Is Here.
I have really enjoyed putting together my Advent garden this year and in keeping with the unusual season, my garden is a little different and you might think quirky too.
Over the weekend, I pulled out my favorite contemplative garden bowl, filled it with cactus soil, covered that with decorative stones and planted my cacti – all of it is recycled from previous gardens. Then I filled it with candles, not traditional, blue or purple and pink candles. They will go around our traditional Advent wreath that sits on our dining room table every year. This is my special contemplative garden, designed for my morning contemplative times, so I felt I could have some fun with it and as you can see I chose colorful candles that I will light every morning – yep, every morning!!!! And as if that wasn’t enough I have wound a string of fairy lights around the garden – reminding me a little of the colorful aurora borealis that dominates my Lean Towards the Light contemplative video from a few years ago.
Each week, I will paint one of the rocks to help me meditate on that week’s theme but I have decided that all the candles will be lit every morning as a symbol of my desire to really lean towards the light of Christ. As I said, this is a nontraditional contemplative garden that is geared more towards my own needs this year than towards any form of traditional celebration.
Creativity Outside the Box is Here.
If you have not already done so, take some time this week to design your sacred space for Advent. As you do so, I would encourage you too to think outside the box. Don’t think same old candles and Advent wreaths. Design something that responds to your special needs this year.
What are you craving this year that needs to be part of your sacred space? Do you own religious symbols you could adapt to help you focus? Are there other items around the house – like my lights and cacti – you could incorporate? Try to keep your purchases to a minimum. It is a fun and creative exercise to engage in.
I also put together a Celtic Advent playlist on Spotify, and then planted a bowl of narcissus bulbs. They will be flowering by Christmas – a wonderful reminder that growth begins in the dark but grows into the light and flowers with beauty and fragrance for us to enjoy.
Now unless you feel a little overwhelmed by all this demand to be creative, be assured that it is OK to be traditional too. I am also adding my Advent icon and beautiful Taize Magnificat picture to my desk. I cannot imagine Advent without them.
So now I feel that I am really ready for Advent. Not surprisingly as I worked on all of this, a song of hope and longing and praise rose up within me as I begin the season:
Lord God Almighty,
Who made the sun
To light our world by day,
And the moon to illumine the night.
I wait for the coming of your light.
I wait in anticipation,
For your light to penetrate the darkness.
I wait with longing,
For the light of your justice to shine.
I wait in silence,
Inviting your light to fill my heart.
May it shine
And out into the world you love.
(c) Christine Sine
And here is a glimpse of what my garden looks like each morning.