2 December 2012
Advent - and a defence of mixing traditions
It's the first Sunday in Advent. Already. How the winter is rushing onwards! The Summer is so filled with light from outside coming in to the centre, filling us up. Winter is a time for thinking about how we shine our inner lights - outwards, starting with our own nearest circles and tribes, working out to the wider world. Time to light a candle, or two, or more. Time to love and share and tell old old stories.
In our Jesse Tree studies we start with Creation. The foundation, the beginning, and the unfolding story of God's plan for the world. On our Waldorf season table, we begin with "the light of stones". The bare bones, the hard and unyielding, foundations for living things. Complementary views of the world that sustains us.
Decorating for the round of Winter festivals always begins with our Christmas tree. Good memories, and somewhere to hang pretty sparkling things, and that's enough for me. We tell several stories about the meaning of these green branches, but at the end of the day I don't need any more story than needing to remember the world outside in my inward spiral. And the children are more than satisfied with several renditions of "Oh Christmas Tree". Loudly. Neighbours, please forgive the enthusiastic carol singing you have endured since August...
The tree is offensive because it's pagan. The tree is offensive because it's commercialised. Simmer down, people. The tree is just pretty, K?
For one little person, it's the first time they remember seeing these shinies. Although they were lit the morning she came into this world, my second Christmas baby. :)
The sisters did a good job! No, no dad, I'm not a star...
And I have been busy making things for other people's winter decorations, too.
It's just a beginning, the very tip of a month of celebration. All facets of the same life of "pouring out", of giving and being in a way that lives Love and Joy and Peace.
Comforting traditions, focus on presence above presents, and layers of warming light-bringing ritual surround how we do Christmas; for us not "Jesus' birthday" but a celebration *that* He came, and not excluding the many other reasons for celebrating.
(I have been accused recently more than once of "watering down" my Christian belief. But I prefer to see it as shaking it up with a dose of charity and spreading it out, letting it be a foundation with a sparkly world-aware bohemian house on top of it, rather than a windowless concrete bunker for fighting a war from. Just sayin'.)
So I wish you all light, and a season filled with other-ness and child-like wonder. However you do it and in all the ways that you are you. And peace be in all of the spaces between us. xxx