"First Sunday of Advent: History of the Feast," God with Us
I've decided at the very last minute to sign up for Floss's A Pause in Advent. I would like the spiritual discipline of taking time every week to write about my favorite liturgical season of the year.
The above passage from God with Us goes on a little later to say, "Just as we might clean our house in preparation for the arrival of a special guest, so church tradition asks us to take stock of our souls and be at our best when the special day arrives." That's daunting, isn't it--the idea of taking stock of one's soul? How is your soul doing these days?
In general, I have felt that my soul is in need of watering. Of better care and feeding. I was reading an interview with the wonderful (and, sadly, late) poet Jane Kenyon last night and was struck when she said that poets need to be stewards of their gifts. "Protect your time," she writes. "Feed your inner life. Avoid too much noise. Read good books, have good sentences in your ears. Be by yourself as often as you can. Walk. Take the phone off the hook. Work regular hours."
Not only is that wonderful advice for poets, I think it is fine advice for someone preparing to receive a great mystery. I will do my best to be quieter this Advent season, to turn off the radio, to turn away from the Internet, to read poetry and take long walks. On winter Sundays, I like to set out on a walk twenty minutes or so before dusk, so that as I'm headed for home the sky is flooded with pink and gold and a blue giving over to darkness.
I will leave you with a poem by Jane Kenyon from her wonderful collection, Let Evening Come (Graywolf Press, 1990).
Let Evening Come
Let the light of late afternoon
shine through chinks in the barn, moving
up the bales as the sun moves down.
Let the cricket take up chafing
as a woman takes up her needles
and her yarn. Let evening come.
Let dew collect on the hoe abandoned
in long grass. Let the stars appear
and the moon disclose her silver horn.
Let the fox go back to its sandy den.
Let the wind die down. Let the shed
go black inside. Let evening come.
To the bottle in the ditch, to the scoop
in the oats, to air in the lung
let evening come.
Let it come, as it will, and don't
be afraid. God does not leave us
comfortless, so let evening come.