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The First Light of Advent

December 2, 2012

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This little light of mine,

I’m gonna let it shine.

This little light of mine I’m gonna let it shine,

Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

Waiting. We are waiting, for the light to come. The world has gone dark and grows darker still until we reach the longest day and shortest night. Waiting until the Story begins again, waiting for the sun to warm our bones and hearts.

Advent is the time of waiting, with anticipation, with eager hearts and open souls to the whispers and deep quiet contemplation. Literally “to come, or approach” Advent  is the period of time both before and after Christmas. It is recognized as the 4 Sundays before Christmas and the following 12 days until Three Kings Day or Epiphany on January 6. Amid all the bustle and rush that swings wide the door and exhales into our lives in preparation for Christmas, this is the inhale I seek.  In all honesty I am not a religious person, I do not practice my devotion in many outward manifestations, nor subscribe to one defined religion. Instead I prefer a quieter spirituality. As if that made any sense. What I mean to say is that Advent for me becomes a quiet contemplative time. A pause, one of a few I purposely take as the year turns round the sun.

Long before Christians recognized Advent, it was celebrated by Druids, Romans, and other ancient cultures as Saturnalia, or Mithraism or Winter Solstice. In the midnight of the year where all grows dark, still even now in this day and age, we wait for light, and hold hope that it will come again.  Perhaps it’s the weather or the speed of life, but this season has not felt very special to me this year. The red and green boxes of decorations came down ,and then sat closed and full. So down came all of my festival books, and notebooks filled with printed pages from years past classes, and readings on season subjects. I found an Advent  piece that helped me find center again. It spoke about cultivating silence, reflecting on the past year, looking ahead, using the candle to illuminate the way.

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Tonight my family will light our first candle of Advent and speak Steiner’s Advent verse.

I invite you to light a candle as just as we do in the Waldorf kindergarten and join me in the days and weeks ahead as we celebrate  this season of the year together.

Gather the family, dim the lights and reflect this week on the earth itself, the stones who hold  memories of eons, hardened bones and shells that support and form us, and crystals that glitter and shine. The basic substances of humans and earth.  You can easily make an advent wreath by using a pre made wreath and placing 4 candle holders with in it. Or you may wish to make an Advent garden. On a deep blue cloth create a spiral of pine boughs, around which you place your candle holders. (If you google Waldorf advent table spiral there are wonderful images and ideas) This first week, focus on the earth and its wonders, take walks to gather stones or crystals, seashells and if you still have it that turkey wishbone!

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The first light of Winter,

It is the light of stones,

Stones that live in crystals,

In seashells and in bone.

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