Sunday, November 28, 2010

Waiting, Trusting, Listening: Advent 2010

This painting of Mary is by Antonello de Messina: the Annunciation. Isn't it a powerful picture of a woman with great dignity and inner strength. I was introduced to this image this weekend.

We went to an Advent retreat at our beloved New Norcia, the Benedictine community an hour or so north east of Perth. This is the view of the courtyard in the guest house. It always makes me feel peaceful just to see this tower.

The theme for our retreat was listening, waiting, trusting. We looked at the birth narratives from scripture, and at art and music which helped us revisit these beloved stories. We prayed with the monks. In particular we looked at the words the characters in the Christmas story actually said -including the strong female characters in Luke's gospel: Elizabeth, Mary and Anna.

This is a picture of from a local Indigenous artist who has painted the angel Gabriel -it was at the back of the church, where people could make private devotions.

When we got home we did what we always do on the first Sunday in Advent -we started our Christmas preparations at home by putting up the tree.
We also put out our Advent wreath -but to my shame I have forgotten to have the right coloured candles on hand, so we lit a white one tonight to mark the first Sunday in Advent.

This is a picture of my Advent calendar quilt, which I made last year. As it was completed only on Christmas Eve, this is the first Advent it will be used to it's intended purpose -to mark the passage of days as we move through Advent. Despite what the retailers would have you believe -we are not there yet. Christmas is 4 weeks away. This is the time for preparation -for waiting, trusting and listening.
Just as Mary and Elizabeth would have marked the passage of time in their pregnancy, waiting and listening and hoping, so I hope that we can keep this theme going as we move through this season. In all the bustle of the Christmas preparations, this becomes even more important.

How have you marked the beginning of Advent?

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