A Nourishing Holiday Season: Advent

Disclaimer: Despite my years in and out of various Christian denominations, I do not consider myself an expert on Christianity or even Christian so please take my statements for their spirit and not for their technical accuracy.

Nobody could possibly have conceived of a more stressful cultural phenomenon than The Holiday Season. Spend money you don’t have, stretch your calendar to the max, consume every calorie possible and the guilt that comes along with it, be fake-nice to everybody, endure the screams and greed of small children just learning how to be good consumers, navigate treacherous roads, oh and decorate your house like Martha Stewart. I think my blood pressure rose just writing all that. There are many articles floating around the blog-o-sphere around this time of year about taking the stress out of the season or perhaps just opting-out entirely. Rather than give you a listicle of tips or suggesting to throw it all out, I suggest resurrecting and repurposing a frequently forgotten flavor of the season, Advent.

Advent is the first period of the Christian liturgical year (for the denominations that have one). It goes from roughly the Sunday closest to November 30th, St. Andrew’s Day, and Christmas (also depends on denomination). Advent is latin for “coming” and the period is supposed to be seen as a period of anticipation, both for Christmas itself and the second coming of Christ. It’s celebrated with wreaths, decorations, and other denomination-specific traditions.

But for me, advent has always been about the beautiful, contemplative possibility of WAITING. Of doing nothing. Of peace. It’s like the seasonal incarnation of quiet snow falling. It’s a time to simply be present, ideally with a cup of tea. It’s a space-between this year and that year. A time for reflection, for gratitude, for silence. It is an entire season honoring the glory within silence. It’s like a Sabbath for the entire year. It’s the flavor of deep meditation, but spread out over weeks.

To shamelessly borrow from the Wiccan tradition, it is also a period of time where the veil between worlds is thin, where ancestors are close, where you can hear them whisper if you quiet yourself. It’s a time where your own deep wisdom has opportunity to speak in your conscious mind. With all the rushing about of a standard, post-millennial year, taking opportunity to say no, to sleep, to ponder, to wonder, to reflect, to meditate, to pray, is a beautiful opportunity indeed.

But what to ponder? Here are a few things I like to meditate on during advent, with their Christian inspiration in parenthesis.

  • What can I do to forgive myself, see my own divinity, and love myself more deeply? (When will Jesus come again?)
  • How can I take the good in my heart and let it ripple out into the world around me? (When will we see the kingdom of God on earth, as it is in heaven?)
  • What do I need to do to heal myself from past hurts so that I can be a force for justice and peace in this world? (What can we do to welcome God’s reign of justice and peace today?)
  • Are there any changes I need to make in my life to make it align more with my own deep wisdom? (What can we do as individuals to reorder our lives in the light of God’s love?)
  • What can I do to support those around me to live from their own highest consciousness and deepest love? (What would it mean to live as a people who believe in Jesus as the Savior of all the earth and who expect him to come again at the fulfillment of time?)

Whether you ponder these questions, others of your own, or choose to not ponder any questions at all, I wish you a very nourishing holiday season. No matter how you choose to celebrate, Happy Advent.

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Michelle Garfinkel

Michelle Garfinkel

I help people rediscover awe and wonder through sexual and spiritual healing. Find resources and more at michellegarfinkel.com.