Advent weight

Strange how this stuff happens but before I posted my #adventweight tweets and without either of us knowing what the other was doing, Lori was asked to post an advent reflection and she wrote this amazing poem.

There is a wait
and the wait weighs heavy
It breathes deeply
as if asleep
not stirring
Try to reach around it
But as if magnetic
It draws you

So you wait
and the wait weighs heavy

The wait moves slowly
It won’t be hurried
Cannot be coaxed
reasoned with
or forced

It just waits
and the wait weighs heavy

‘and G-d said…’
G-d breathed
G-d became
was and is and is to come
and we waited
and we wait

we wait
and the wait weighs heavy

Recreating St Nic in our own image

I was watching The Santa Clause film the other day with my daughter and thinking how real Father christmas has become, how millions of people make Father Christmas real without him physically existing, yet he is manifested and brought into being by our giving of stockings and presents. Yes I know the story of St Nic, but can’t help thinking our desire to see the magic in children eyes stems from a deeper need to make manifest something we have all lost. However in doing so with Father Christmas we have lost more of the mystery of life than we have found, in trying to make the magic happen, it once again slips through our fingers…Kester writes brilliantly on the need to recover something of St Nic here and in doing we might just recover the truer mystery beyond.

Some things need to be carried

I have been posting a series of advent tweets under the #adventweight and for some people these tweets are hard to embrace. In the tweets I try to put myself in the shoes of others for whom the run up to christmas may be hard.

I often find myself needing times of lament, to pause, to cry and weep, to embrace the fact that some things simply need to be carried. As I watched the film Field of Dreams for the umpteenth time last night, I found myself once again weeping unexpectedly, as the film reached a point of reconciliation between father and son, and was reminded that in my life this is something I just need to carry. My relationship with my father was rocky due to his alcoholism and yet in the dying moments of his life there were glimmers of hope and grace between us seeping through the cracks, but still many years later there are things I just need to carry. So as I prepare for the hope to come through #adventweight I remember that there is no magic bullet, not everything happens for a reason, and in the midst of new birth, hope and surprise, there are still things at just need to be carried.

How long?

How long will we will mourn?
How long will we stand beside those in need?
How long until justice prevails?
How long will the call for equality sound?
Till the food banks are needed no more,
till those who cannot work feel dignified and supported rather vilified and blamed,
till the voiceless are heard, the captives of poverty are free,
Till society becomes a place where all are valued and all are held in a space of grace.

The expectation is building

Pregnant with expectation, fear, joy, hope, trepidation. This advent may we find the balance we need to journey on.

The angels relayed a message of hope, they saturated it with their own light this advent what will your personality bring the story of hope?

This advent we know the nativity scene on the card may not match the reality but we can choose to be part of the social inclusion depicted

This advent we are reminded the wise men did not arrive at the stable but much later, continuing a story that stretches well beyond the crib

As Christ became one with humanity this advent may we know oneness with the creation.

As Christ became one with humanity this advent may we know oneness with one another.

As Christ became one with humanity this advent may we know oneness with our creator.

As Christ became one with humanity this advent may we know oneness with ourselves.

At advent when there’s no room at the inn, we may doubt our call but the reality of the situation means we must persevere till we find rest

Advent reflections

I have been trying to take time to do a simple advent reflection each day. So far I have
1 To prepare for the beginning of the new in advent we must also recognise the new to come is an end &reshaping of ALL we have known before.
2 At advent we prepare to be caught up in the dance towards the redemption & renewal of all things, on earth, in heaven & under the earth.
3 In advent we can choose to see, like the wise men the creators signs, and continue our journey towards redemption.
4 In advent we remember whilst Joseph may have been floored by confusion and angst at Mary’s news he accepted the journey ahead.
5 Those on the edge were open to the change coming, like the shepherds let us travel light this advent.
6 In advent Marys journey recalls our need to experience the restless discomfort of a journey that seeks to give birth to the new.

Jesus is coming look busy – ness in the eye

Advent makes us aware of the coming Christ, and perhaps we need to to look the busy-ness of Christmas in the eye. I am always amazed at how unprepared Mary was for the birth, there was no cot, and a distinct lack of forward planning. Maybe there was something in the timing so she and Joseph were caught slightly unaware, busy with other things, worried about how others might be viewing the timing of the event?
We prepare for Christmas, we prepare for birth, we busy ourselves with these preparations. What is it in us that drives us to prepare for this season? Advent helps us focus towards the coming light but what is it on our shadow sides that drives the busy-ness of the preparations?

Advent in the dark

We wait in the darkness, expectantly, longingly, anxiously, thoughtfully.

The darkness is our friend.

In the darkness of the womb, we have all been nurtured and protected.

In the darkness of the womb the Christ-child was made ready for the journey into light.

It is only in the darkness that we can see the splendour of the universe – blankets of stars, the solitary glowings of the planets.

It was the darkness that allowed the Magi to find the star that guided them to where the Christ-child lay.

In the darkness of the night, desert people find relief from the cruel relentless heat of the sun.

In the blessed desert darkness Mary and Joseph were able to flee with the infant Jesus to safety in Egypt.

In the darkness of sleep, we are soothed and restored,healed and renewed.

In the darkness of sleep, dreams rise up. God spoke to Joseph and the wise men through dreams. God is speaking still. Sometimes in the solitude of the darkness our fears and concerns, our hopes and visions rise to the surface.We come face to face with ourselves and with the road that lies ahead of us. And in that same darkness we find companionship for the journey. In that same darkness we sometimes allow ourselves to wonder and worry whether the human race is going to survive. And then, in the darkness we know that you are with us, O God, yet still we await your coming. In the darkness that contains both our hopelessness and our hope, we watch for a sign of God’s hope. For you are with us, O God, in darkness and in light.

Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand (abridged)

Giving birth to the agnostic within!

Being born is hard, the baby has to let go of a world that felt so secure, so safe, so warm , so comforting, once he didn’t even have to breathe for himself…and then the baby has to endure being pushed out, almost crushed in the process, out into a hostile, big environment with no safety of the womb. Here, the baby’s needs are not on tap, he will have to call out for his needs to be met and hope that someone will respond. It is frightening and scary in a world with no walls to touch.

Being born is risky, the baby could die, and there may be complications and physical abnormalities. For us to allow a hidden part of us to be born, to be revealed can be very risky, we could lose face, family, friends, church… but the greatest risk is ultimately you could lose your soul. To be born again involves letting go, letting go of old truths and beliefs, assurances and insurances, letting go of a way of life…

Many of us are afraid to be born again, to allow god to be born anew in us as it is frightening to risk letting go of the world we have constructed, even if that world does not content us or is uncomfortable, we end up living by the belief – ‘better the devil you know!’

So this Christmas maybe the best gift you can give to yourself is to allow the agnostic to be born in you afresh, to encourage it to thrive and develop. What both Christmas and Easter have in common is flesh, powerlessness, weakness and letting go. So let go and be born again!


Babies are not concerned with what is right or wrong, they are not interested in truth, belief or dogma, they are not interested in theology or any other ‘ology’ or ‘ism’, or any kind of thinking. The only truth they know is whether they can trust their dependant. They live in this moment, right here- right now and trust their senses and their feelings. What they are concerned about is whether they are held and touched, fed and loved, warmth and nurture and tenderness and compassion.

No words – just flesh and body.

Ultimately the only thing the baby is interested in at this moment is survival

Rowan Williams in his Radio Times message writes the following….

The Clutching hand of the baby is, for most of us, something we can’t resist. The Christmas story outrageously suggests that putting our hand into the clutch of a baby may be the most important thing we can ever do as human beings – a real letting go of aggression and fear and wanting to make an impression, and whatever else is going on in us that keeps us tied up in our struggle and violence.