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.Only one candle to begin Advent…things are gray, misty, even opaque…yet it cheers me, one candle to set the intention to look for the places the Light gets in. However, my presbyopic eyes have trouble seeing much behind or within that tiny Light

So my attention has been directed to another sense, my hearing. In a conversation with a friend, I was asked to listen for the way the Holy One reaches out in sounds, words, music, echoes, touching me, if I am open to it through those media. Even though my spirit journey experience has been circled, enlivened, nourished and directed by those sounds for all of my life, I was startled. The liturgy Advent has rested heavily on words of darkness and Light, on looking and watching.

Yet now I am directed to Listen! Immediately I began to hear the ways that the Holy One is present in my conversations, in the Word proclaimed, in the reading fo sacred text, in the sacred music of the season, phrases of comfort and joy, speeches of challenge and daring! Following that thread, I found immediately discovered that the sounds in my life were leading me to clarity, understanding, reassurance and spiritual perspective. Even though my eyes are dim, my listening is acute, and the Spirit keeps catching my attention through whispers, through gentle voices, through clear and straightforward thinking expressed–eloquently or not. And often the Word that I hear stays with me, sinks down into my bones and marrow, into my heart and ruminations. And it brings me Hope.

The word that returned to me this week–as it has again and again over my life–is Love. Despite the messiness, despite the venality, despite the heavy, heavy grief, despite the pain and the loss, I am prodded to join with the saints and angels to hear Love as it is spoken, to speak Love as I am given space, to offer Love no matter who might want or need it. Each day of this Advent will be unique–different circumstances different demands, different opportunities, but all opportunities for me to act in Love. The “encircling gloom” is not too dark to be Love this Advent.