Sometime after Thanksgiving I noticed an unsettledness in my spirit, disquiet in my soul, angst in my mind, and ache in my heart. Interestingly, other people have shared they’re feeling similar things. With winter coming and the season of death approaching, I wonder if we’re experiencing a communal longing. Could it be that regardless of our religious views the anticipation of Advent is hard-baked into reality?
The season of Advent is the four Sundays leading up to Christmas and marks a time of expecting in our hearts and awaiting in our bones the coming of the Christ. Jesus, whose birth we celebrate on Christmas, was/is the physical manifestation of the Christ. I say that because the Christ is the blueprint of all reality, the model of and for humans thriving and flourishing, the energy that connects and enlivens us all (Light and Love), the Source of goodness, and the Creator. If us humans were a meal made and intended for deliciousness, the Christ would be not only the recipe and the chef, but also the first delicious taste of the dish.
Now here’s the thing, I don’t need to tell you there are things wrong in the world, humanity isn’t living to its full potential, and you and I have work to do both internally and externally. We know in our spirits life isn’t as fantastic as it could/should be, and is downright crappy in some ways; so, we long for a big, beautiful, blissful way of being wherein kindness, care, and harmony flow so bountifully they saturate reality. We’re held hostage by a world (both external andinternal) wherein fear, greed, insecurity, comparison, division, shame, stress, and violence all too often run the show. Knowing in our gut we’re made and meant for something better, we yearn to be freed from the darkness.
I’m convinced everything is spiritual and connected, which means there’s a relationship between seasons in nature and seasons in life, what goes on in the world and what transpires in our souls, and so on. That said, as we approach the Winter Solstice the days get shorter and shorter, meaning darkness holds us increasingly in its power. More than ever at a deep, soul level we long for the Light, we thirst for salvation from the grasp of death in all its forms, be it loss of life, the end of or change in a relationship or job, a move, an injury or illness, uncertainties and worries about the future, internal doubts and fears, and so on.
I have a hunch the inner angst people have told me about, I’ve been feeling, and you may be experiencing is our bodies harmonizing with the season to remind us the state of the world (inner and outer) is not as it could/should be, and a hunger for better. When we celebrate the birth of the Christ on Christmas, we name/cheer on the coming of all the goodness we’ve ever craved. I think this is at least part of how the Christ saves us all. While MUCH could be said about what that means, I’ll leave you with one brief and poignant aspect.
Amidst the dark, smack dab in the middle of ALL our fears, insecurities, losses, doubts, struggles, worries, division, fighting, and more, the Christ is the Light of God coming to us to give us a big old hug and tenderly whisper, “You are safe, you are infinitely precious, and you are beloved now and always. All will be well, all manner of things will be well.” How much is your soul worth? According to God, EVERYTHING! THIS, my friends, is salvation. The more we feel it, the more we’re free to live and love well. As Father Richard Rohr says:
The only people who change, who are transformed, are people who feel safe, who feel their dignity, and who feel loved. When you feel loved, when you feel safe, and when you know your dignity, you just keep growing!That’s what we do for one another as loving people—offer safe relationships in which we can change. This kind of love is far from sentimental; it has real power. In general, we need a judicious combination of safety and necessary conflict to keep moving forward in life.
Grace and peace,