This week I had the opportunity to share in an experience called an Advent spiral walk. The evening started with hot cider and light fare followed by song, beautifully led by acoustic guitar and, at first by the voice of one singing, and then several. As it progressed, and we bundled up and walked outside, into the evening, it only got better.
In the cold air and in darkness, guided only by candlelight, we proceeded to reflect on Advent, a time of waiting…waiting in darkness…but also in hope. As we sat around the spiral, singing, “In the Advent Garden, Dark the night below, Earth is waiting, waiting, waiting for the stars to glow…oh,” and as I listened to the guitar chords and the voices, I found myself so taken with the beauty of it all. One by one, each person…each pilgrim…stood up and prayerfully walked the spiral to the center. Once there, he or she, paused, lit their candle, and then placed it along the path on the walk back out from the center.
As I looked up at the stars above, and then back to the group and the spiral, looking at the area that was once dark now becoming lighter, I found myself filled with hope and joy. As I reflected on the words spoken earlier, “the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (from John 1:5), I found myself feeling grateful to God for the light placed within each of us and for each person in my life, and along my journey, who has shared their light with me and others.
How wonderful! Even in the darkness, there is light. Advent…waiting with hope and in hope…it is not just this time of year, but also throughout the year. Sometimes I wonder, am I waiting for God or, is it God who is waiting for me? Sometimes, I think it is both.
Either way, whether I am waiting for God or God is waiting for me…the sun always returns, and the light returns, as we wait together.
“Thus says the Lord GOD,
the Holy One of Israel:
O people of Zion, who dwell in Jerusalem,
no more will you weep;
He will be gracious to you when you cry out,
as soon as he hears he will answer you.
The Lord will give you the bread you need
and the water for which you thirst.
No longer will your Teacher hide himself,
but with your own eyes you shall see your Teacher,
While from behind, a voice shall sound in your ears:
‘This is the way; walk in it,’
when you would turn to the right or to the left.” – Is 30:19-21