Every year we arrive at this place in late November — this place in the Christian experience of life that we call Advent. And every year we vow to slow down and make more of Advent, to examine how we arrived at this place, and to prepare our hearts for new life — the birth of a baby that changes the course of history.
Advent is the season in which we prepare for, anticipate, and celebrate "God with us." It is during this season of preparation that we remind ourselves of our "Judeo heritage" before we find God stepping into history as a human to light our path forward.
Mark Nepo, prolific poet and voice of contemporary spirituality, writes in his essay "Unlearning Back to God" that "each person is born with an unencumbered spot, free of expectation and regret, free of ambition and embarrassment, free of fear and worry; an umbilical spot of grace where we were each first touched by God. It is this spot of grace that issues peace. Psychologists call this spot the Psyche, Theologians call it the Soul, Jung calls it the Seat of the Unconscious, Hindu masters call it Atman, Buddhists call it Dharma, Rilke calls it Inwardness, Sufis call it Qalb, and Jesus calls it the Center of our Love.
To know this spot of Inwardness is to know who we are, not by surface markers of identity, not by where we work or what we wear or how we like to be addressed, but by feeling our place in relation to the Infinite and by inhabiting it. This is a hard lifelong task, for the nature of becoming is a constant filming over of where we begin, while the nature of being is a constant erosion of what is not essential. Each of us lives in the midst of this ongoing tension, growing tarnished or covered over, only to be worn back to that incorruptible spot of grace at our core."
Each of us is born complete and, yet, we need contact with life in order to be made whole. Take three minutes, now, to remind yourself of where we come from and to that which our hearts always return. Enjoy your journey through Advent … our wish for you is that you find your way back to your "center of love."
Music by Marcy Priest … available on iTunes.