I’ve been emotional about Advent this year. Usually it is my favourite liturgical season, but this year has brought new feelings and perhaps some new understanding as well. Maybe part of the reason is that we are now living up on the 18th floor, in the midst of the weather and also, because of the floor-to-ceiling windows, in the midst of light and darkness.
Our old house was down in a dell, surrounded by evergreens; very nice, but you had to open the front door to find out what was going on with the weather. Now we see the snow on the mountains, the mist gathering over the inlet, the clouds passing, the crows flying home in flocks when the light reaches just the right level that says, “Crows, time to get moving. Find your buddies and go!”
Of course, as the darkness comes a little earlier every day, we also feel more enclosed in our little place even as we see the lights of the city coming on. And around five o’clock, when Ricardo and I sit at the table for Evening Prayer according to the Liturgy of the Hours, it is fully dark.
I turn off all the lights in the house and light our Advent wreath, and the light shining in the darkness, bringing the symbol alive, thrills me every time. We sing O Come, O Come Emmanuel and the yearning in the music jogs my heart, reminding me that I do yearn for His coming, somewhere hidden under all the busy distractions of the day. Knowing that the psalms we are praying are being echoed all around the world by others wraps me with a sense of community.
And then it’s over, the lights are back on, it’s time to put the finishing touches to dinner while Ricardo goes to watch the BBC World News. But there is satisfaction in knowing that the ritual has been kept, praise has been given, our failings have been acknowledged, help has been requested. As evening moves in, all is as it should be.