• shelisloterbeek

"I Will Light Candles this Christmas"

I didn't grow up celebrating Advent. In fact, if you had asked me what it was I probably would have said "it sounds Catholic" or something like that. But as I've moved into new spaces of worship I've come to love Advent. The waiting. The anticipation. The longing. This liminal space. (sidenote: I love liminal spaces. I love them so much I would put that on a bumper sticker on my car. They can - and usually are - so difficult, but moving across the threshold is one of life's greatest transformations.)


But the longing. Have you had deep, moving longing? The kind where you feel it in body - in your gut or bones or in your soul?


Recently, I've had two such longings. The first was for pine trees, but that really has nothing to do with this writing, (but of course we can always chat about it later). The second longing was for a rooted belonging. I was recently in the Heard Museum, which is a local museum dedicated to the advancement of American Indian art. The design and skill of weaving in cloth and baskets handed down from one generation to the next were overwhelming. One exhibit featured art from a woman who had been taught by both her mother and grandmother. And then I felt it. The longing to have that connection with the past in the present. The thousands of years of art and tradition and handiwork flowing through me. But I just simply don't... and that's okay.


Are there places in your life that feel like they are scarce or empty?


As I pondered the longing that could never be filled, I began to think of my own creative abundance. I have "tinkering" that runs and creates in my DNA. Tinkering that solves problems and thinks outside the box. Tinkering that sees things not just for what they are, but for what they might become. So as it is the first Sunday of Advent, I was inspired to create a "wreath" of my own. I already had made the driftwood (trinity) centerpiece, so I dug out my antique glass candle holders to add. And so here at Advent this year, I live out of my creative abundance to the longing for rootedness, for tradition.



So in the words of Howard Thurman:

I will light Candles this Christmas,

Candles of joy despite all the sadness,

Candles of hope where despair keeps watch,

Candles of courage for fears ever present,

Candles of peace for tempest-tossed days,

Candles of grace to ease heavy burdens,

Candles of love to inspire all my living,

Candles that will burn all year long.





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