by guest writer Bettina Schuller, all images by Bettina Schuller
Glory to thee, Thou glorious sun, Face of the God of life. —Traditional Celtic prayer
Every year I look forward to Advent. I still remember those quiet Sunday afternoons of my childhood in Germany when the Advent wreath candles were burning and my mother and I would sing Christmas songs. It grew dark early in Northern Germany and we would sit together for hours, singing, praying, enjoying the silent moments, while gazing at the light of the flickering candles.
I miss the peace and joy of my childhood Advent. Every year, I promise myself to create quiet time during this season and connect with God in a deeper way.
This year I will celebrate a quiet Advent and lean every morning towards THE Light to come. More than any other year, we need to lean into the Light and also discover the light within ourselves.
If you are like me, having a daily morning routine is essential and I created a beautiful morning ritual for this time. Since I relocated to St. Petersburg, Florida in 1989, my childhood memories are not easy to replicate in the warmth of the sunny Florida afternoons.
Let me take you into the beautiful light of my sunrise mornings:
I get up around 5:30 am, when it is still dark. With a cup of green tea, I watch the darkness turn into light, slowly but with assurance that with every minute the light will become brighter. Still in the dark, I light a candle and I breathe deeply into the new day and say my breath prayer: “I am the light of the world.”
I invite you to my Breath Praying Pause and to come into the presence of God right now:
You are the light of the world. …let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. —Matthew 5:14-15
~Breathe a calm and slow breath in… and out… You are the Light of the world…
~Breathe in… I am a light… breathe out…in this world… stay with this for a few breaths…
~Breathe in… I am shining… breathe out…I am shining… stay with this for a few breaths…
~Breathe in with a smile… I am a light… breathe out with a smile… I am shining… smiling… shining…
~Breathe in God’s Light within you and all around you…
Nothing can dim the Light that shines from within. —Maya Angelou
As I see the light getting brighter, I put on my walking shoes and drive down to the water to watch the sunrise. I am blessed to be able to watch the sunrise over open water.
Every morning is different and reminds me that beauty is as variable as life itself. Some mornings the sky is clear and the sunrise is completely visible from the first red glow to its full round beauty. Other mornings, it is cloudy and the sun peeks out behind a layer of clouds and goes back into another layer of clouds as soon as it is risen. Sometimes the sky is completely overcast and the sun cannot be seen at all, but I know that the sun rises every day whether I can see it or not.
Can you imagine what life would be like if the sunrise looked the same every morning? We would not appreciate it as much or know the beauty in diversity.
The sunrise is a wonderful metaphor for God’s work in our lives. Sometimes we can see God’s work clearly, while at other times it is hidden behind a cloud of pain, to peek out again when we least expect it. As surely as we know that the sun rises every day, we can also be sure that God is present in our lives every moment—whether we can feel it or not.
A quote from Anthony De Mello comes to my mind as I am breathing deeply and with gratitude:
“Is there anything I can do to make myself Enlightened?”
“As little as you can do to make the sun rise in the morning.”
“Then of what use are the spiritual exercises you prescribe?”
“To make sure you are not asleep when the sun begins to rise.”
- If you enjoyed the Praying Pause, please join my Facebook group: This is Living. Practicing the Presence of God.
- You can also find me at my website.
- You can find my book: This is Living. Practicing the Presence of God. A Prayer and Mediation Guide for Daily Life on Amazon.
I am filled with gratitude and love as I connect with you during this special time and I pray that the Light of Christ will illumine your Advent season 2020!
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