Night Visions: Searching the Shadows of Advent and Christmas Jan L. Richardson
Cleveland, Ohio: United Church Press, 1998.
Sometimes I wonder if I like the idea of the season of Advent more than I like the season of Advent. A time to prepare sounds good. I’d love a time to prepare. A time to wait sounds important. I’d love to be able to be a person who waits patiently. I don’t do well with the waiting or preparing. What I do hold on to each year is the candle lighting. I love the light shining in the darkness of this time of year and this Advent season. Each Monday in Advent, I’ll share with you some Scripture to read and a prayer for your candle lighting. I hope you’ll join me in celebrating Advent in this way.
Advent is almost here again. And I will admit that I struggle to keep up daily practices. Weekly practices have more flexibility and forgiveness built in, and so I find myself drawn to the weekly practice of candle lighting. I recognize that what works for me may be very different than what works for you, and so I recommend for those who love daily readings, Jan Richardson’s Night Visions. The art and words are beautiful, heart-breaking, and inspiring. This book will take you through Advent, Christmas, and into Epiphany. If a daily reading works for you, I invite you to be challenged and supported by this book. And, if a daily reading isn’t for you, I still encourage you to get this book and read it at a pace that works for you.
“This season beckons me to ask, what am I preparing for? What is the way that is being prepared within the wilderness of my life? What does it mean for my own life to become a path, a way of welcome for the Holy One? How do I give myself time to notice the ways that the path unfolds before me and within me? What are the acts of preparation that bring delight to my daily life? Whom do I ask or allow to help me prepare?” (39).
“As I cross the threshold into a new season and a new year, the bag prompts questions. What do I need for the journey ahead? What would I put in the bag to take with me? What objects, words, blessings, hopes, charms would I keep within its colors against my chest as I meet the coming days? How will my actions in the year ahead stretch my own thresholds, my own boundaries, and bring me closer to others–to the ones such as those who fashioned this very bag? Or do I need to leave it empty, to wait and see what will fill it this year?” (120).