Advent

We are well into the season of Advent;  advent (n.) “important arrival”,  from L. “adventus “.

It's dark out now, but the light is coming

“It’s dark out now, but the light is coming”

This is the message that the Pagan celebration of Winter Solstice (Dec 21st) and the Christian celebration of Christmas (Dec 25th) have in common. As the days grow short, we long for light — both physical and metaphysical, to carry us through the dark season.  Advent, which means simply “to come,” is the season that leads up to both the Pagan tradition of celebrating the return of the Life-Giver, the Sun; and the Christian tradition of celebrating the birth of the Son, Jesus, who in religious parlance is often referred to as “the light of the world.”

One dawn, the waning moon and the morning star were held in a tracery of clouds.

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Advent is a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the return of the Light.  I have really been enjoying the short, dark days and long nights.  The English countryside is so beautiful with bare branches and fallow fields.

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The sun hangs low in the sky, near to the horizon even towards midday.

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I finished work for nearly three weeks just over a week ago.  Steve and I have been pretty busy.  We went to London for a long weekend in early December.

"I see no ships"Nelson's Column, Trafalgar Square

“I see no ships”
Nelson’s Column, Trafalgar Square

Last Friday night, I had an appointment at my home studio with an artistic mentor, followed by two parties on Saturday, one of which was our annual Rumtopf party.

Dream for 2013 PartySteve Coxon Oscar-winning Screenwriter & Melinda Schwakhofer Renown Fibre Artist

Dream for 2013 Party
Steve Coxon, Oscar-winning Screenwriter & Melinda Schwakhofer, Renown Artist

We went up to the Midlands for a pre-Christmas visit with Steve’s family on Sunday.  Earlier this week, I finished lining and flooring the storage spaces off of our bedroom and my studio.  Oh yeah, we also put ‘Enter the Forest of Dreams’ into storage.  As much as I’ve enjoyed working on it and showing it this year, it’s great to have our living room back!  Here it is with our little Charlie Brown Christmas Tree in the corner and a snowfall of fairly lights at the window.

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Now, it’s just Steve and I to celebrate the Winter Solstice, Christmas and New Year together.  We counted up on our fingers and realised that this is our fifth Christmas together which is quite special.

Vintage 1950's ornaments from Steve's childhood tree

Vintage 1950’s ornaments from Steve’s childhood tree

At first, I really had to make an effort to wind down and relax this week.   The spirituality of waiting is the active doing of nothing.  I’ve been sprawling out on the sofa with warm socks and a cuddly throw to read and look out of the window and doze.

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Our jackdaw neighbours silhouetted against the noon sky.

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A couple of weeks ago it was cold and frosty.  .  .  .

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Frost flower

Frost flower

It has turned mild(ish) and rainy again.  We’ve been going to bed fairly early to read and listen to the radio and to the rain pattering on the rooftop.

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And tomorrow is the Winter Solstice, the time to celebrate the longest night and the return of the Light.

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May you find space in this season for quiet waiting, solace in the dark days and long nights of winter and for something unknown to be born.

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