advent (n.) ”important arrival,” 1742, an extended sense of Advent ”season before Christmas” (Old English), from L. adventus ”a coming, approach, arrival.”
How are you doing in this crazy season that is upon us?
I’m deeply grateful for friends among the world’s faith traditions. I learn something from each and every one of them, and I’m very grateful for the lessons. I’m grateful for diversity of opinion and belief that exists in the world, because just as cellular diversity is crucial to a healthy body and healthy environment, so too diversity in the wider world can promote healthy societies.
For instance, my pagan friends remind me the need to be grounded spiritually, and they are connected to nature in profound ways. I joke with one friend about how much she talks to what the rest of us might call “inanimate” objects, and I listen to her deeply intuitive perspective. Sometimes she tells me how she misses the church, especially at Christmas. I ponder the timing of Christmas, how Christians chose this time in the calendar year for celebrating Christ’s birth, when pagans were celebrating the Winter Solstice. I think of Matthew 4:16:
…the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned.
Darkness this time of year has the power to get our attention in the northern hemisphere. It can feel pervasive, as the sun starts to set not long after the kids get home from school.
This week I’ve been thinking about my pagan friends as I think about Advent, and as I teach “Neo-paganism,” as we complete a semester of “Major World Religions.” I tell the class we started the class, traveled the globe, and are ending in much the same place we began, with earth-based religions. With this in mind, the blog of interviews I edit, “Real People, Real Lives, Real Spirituality,” features an interview with Kris “Mrs. B.” Bradley this week, who also blogs for Patheos at “Confessions of a Pagan Soccer Mom.”
For further reading, here is one of the books Mrs. B. recommends: Paganism: An Introduction to Earth-Centered Religions by Joyce and River Higginbotham
Wishing you peace in this season!