Last night I attended the first Advent service of the season. It was to feature my favorite liturgy, the Holden Village Evening Prayer service created by Marty Haugen. My daughter and I braved 60 mile-an-hour winds as we entered the sanctuary. The lights went out twice in short bursts as we settled in, finally zapping out for good moments before the opening verse was canted: “Jesus Christ you are the light of the world. The light no darkness can overcome.” We huddled around the candelabra and lit our song bulletins with cell phones as the wind howled and the palm fronds snapped against the stained glass windows. It was a perfect service, one that rekindled in me the spirit of the season and inspired me to want to share a few of my favorite artist’s thoughts on the blessings of Advent, of waiting in hope, of communing in love, and of the great and simple joy of the birth of Christ. A little Daily Bread to go along with our peppermint bark, if you will.
Here, an excerpt from a piece by Luci Shaw from the book Winter Song, which she co-wrote with good friend, Madeleine L’Engle.
It came to me, recently, that faith is “a certain widening of the imagination.” When Mary asked the Angel, “How shall these things be?” she was asking God to widen her imagination.
All my life I have been requesting the same thing— a baptized imagination that has a wide enough faith to see the numinous in the ordinary. Without discarding reason, or analysis, I seek from my Muse, the Holy Spirit, images that will open up reality and pull me in to its center.
This is the benison (Middle English for blessing) of the sacramental view of life.