By the Rev. Dr. Joyce Parry Moore, rector, St. James Episcopal, Kent
During that week after Thanksgiving, our family engages in something I call “making room:” clearing away the leaves and pumpkins to make room for evergreen boughs and candles; clearing away ceramic turkeys and platters and making room for packages and crafts.
Perhaps your family had also been busy that week, making room for a tree, a menorah, for presents and decorations that fit your holiday traditions. But how do we make room in our lives and in our hearts? And for what are we preparing?
On these dark and damp days I’m especially aware of my longing for light and how this season – which, in my Christian, Episcopal tradition, we call Advent – calls our attention to making room for that light, to shine in all the cobwebby corners of our lives. There are not enough presents, decorations and cartoons (well, maybe cartoons) in the world to overcome our darkness, to fill that space with meaning.
And so, it is tempting to, as they say, “cut to the chase,” declaring Merry Christmas or happy holidays as soon as Santa makes his way down 5th Avenue. Yet, there is something lovely about waiting, about making room.
One of my favorite Winnie the Pooh quotes expresses this anticipation — “Well,” said Pooh, “what I like best,” and then he had to stop and think. Although eating honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it, which was better than when you were, but he didn’t know what it was called. That blessed moment is a time of reflection, of gratitude, of going deeper. And here at St. James, we are making room for that this season.
I invite you, my broad community, to join us at 6 on Wednesday nights – Dec. 13, 20. We’ll start with a simple potluck (if you don’t have a dish, come anyway), and then engage in activities for that moment: chanting, walking an indoor labyrinth, making prayer beads, yoga and meditation.
Together we will wait and make room in our hearts for the light that is coming. In a world of insatiable appetite and non-stop pace, give yourself the counter-cultural gift of peace.