Saturday, December 04, 2004

Advent

Today I read a new blog, Velveteen Rabbi, recommended by RLP. Velveteen Rabbi recently wrote a post prompted by her experience at an Advent service with a friend. She ponders questions about taking pleasure in the rituals of other faiths. A wonderfully thought provoking post.

I loved her description of the Advent candle lighting ritual.
Peter and his congregation lit the first candle in the enormous evergreen wreath that hangs from the vaulted ceiling of their church. Next week, two candles. Then three. Then four. And on Christmas Eve near midnight, they'll light the central candle, the final light, from which flame will be brought down to light the small tapers of everyone in the room.

Leaving aside for the moment the matter of Jesus, who is naturally a problematic figure for most Jews, I love this Advent ritual. It speaks to me. November has been a dark and in many ways difficult month; in my own personal world I feel the need for light, and when I steel myself to listen to the news it's clear the larger world needs some light too. This lighting of candles to celebrate the gradual revelation of spirit is a metaphor made manifest. Last year I was at Peter's church on Christmas Eve, and the experience of watching the light come down from the rafters and fill the room, tiny flame by tiny flame, was powerful. (Velvateen Rabbi)
Oh, how it brings back such sweet memories of Advent past. As I’ve mentioned before, I grew up in the Episcopal Church. My church was a relatively small parish of about 100 people. I loved the little church and have many fond memories of the people and community we shared.

Our church sanctuary was beautiful: a large stone altar in the center and a lectern and pulpit to either side. Above the altar hung a large austere silver cross. It descended down from a naturally lit vaulted ceiling.

Anyway, the advent season…the candle lighting service…purple, pink, white…such sweetness…such reverence. I’m transported back to those times I participated in this wonderful ritual. I’m grateful for Velveteen’s beautiful description. Precious, simple, yet profound.

1 comment:

Rachel said...

Thank you for your kind words! I'm so glad the blog post resonated for you.