Here in the Northern Hemisphere today is the shortest day and longest night, it is The Winter Solstice. Within my body I treasure the darkness, that blessed and sacred time of rest and regeneration. And for me the knowledge that inside my face and neck and lungs there are cancer cells transitioning into death, releasing their life/light and going dark so that my whole body can be stronger and healthier is powerful magic and a joyful gift. Blessings this Winter Solstice to everyone who needs rest and regeneration, blessings on all who need cells in their body, or relationships in their lives, or larger cultural and political situations to release their life/light and go dark for the greater health of the individual bodies or the larger body politic. Blessings to my dear friends living in the Southern Hemisphere celebrating the opposite, the longest day and shortest night - may good things grow in the abundance of light in your hemisphere.
In my Christian Tradition we are entering the third week of Advent, the four week period before Christmas when we reflect on the gift of incarnation - the miracle of cells infused with The Divine living in embodied Hope, Peace, Joy and Love. Joy is the word, the concept, the state of being we explore in this third week. This morning as I walked through our Farmer's Market I delighted in the joyful riot of color and texture of the persimmons and carrots, squash and chocolate, winter greens and honey. I delighted in the joyful mix of old farm families mostly of European ancestry, generations of folk who have migrated from Central and South America, hippy grandparents tending their hippy grandchildren, people dressed in the rich textures of sweaters and scarves, boots and velvet - all walking breathing living examples of that embodied Joy of The Divine. Blessings on that embodied Joy, blessings on the delights of carrots and velvet, sunlight and laughing children. Blessings on you may you see, taste, touch, hear, smell, and be Embodied Joy.
In my christian tradition we are entering the second week of Advent. It is a time when we read and reflect on a beautiful and revolutionary part of the first chapter of the Gospel of Luke found in the Christian Scriptures. The verses are known as The Magnificat and tell the story of a very pregnant, young, first century girl from rural Palestine journeying to visit her kinswoman, a very pregnant, old woman whose own pregnancy was a miracle. As the two women meet, the young woman says many things but these two phrases always strike me, the young woman, Mary, pregnant with Jesus, says "My soul magnifies The Divine... The Divine has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; The Divine has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty." I am again reminded of what the Liberation Theologians in my Christian Tradition call "God's preferential option for the poor" that, based on Jesus teachings as an adult, individuals and whole societies will be judged by how they cared for their most vulnerable members, that political policies and institutional systems must strive for economic equality and steer away from policies that simply consolidate the wealth of a society in the hands of a few. Blessings on all who hear and heed these first century calls from the poor young teenager who was the mother of Jesus. No Justice, No Peace. Peace = Justice
In my christian tradition today is the first Sunday of Advent. Advent is a time when my christian spiritual community ponders our powerful mythological claim that incarnation - the embodiment of the divine in fragile human flesh - is possible. But first a young woman has to say yes to filling her life, her womb, her whole consciousness with this particular manifestation of "The Divine in our midst" growing cell by cell in her uterus, fed by her blood and willingness and hope for her baby, herself, her world. My dear beloved Jeff Spencer preached a sermon this morning on the Annunciation, the part of the story where the Angel Gabriel and Mary have their meeting. He touches on this 2000 year old story in the context of the current #metoo conversations and how important a culture of consent is, even between an angel and a young Palestinian peasant girl. This Advent I have the blessing of doing nothing but reading, writing, dreaming, healing and hoping. And so this week I will spent my time trancing and dancing with Mary as she enters this time of Hope. Blessings on my christian family walking this journey with me. Blessings on all people who hope The Divine will manifest in their lives. Blessings on all people who Hope.
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