Regardless of your religious orientation, I think everyone needs Advent: four weeks a year dedicated to quieting the mind enough to be able to slowly hear the still, small voice within. A month of turning inwards to find the message in the growing darkness: a time of letting go, of listening more deeply. Advent is a time to focus on waking up, staying conscious and paying attention.
Like so many children, I loved having an Advent calendar. Every day, I eagerly opened the tiny numbered window to reveal the chocolate or picture or message hidden within. This year, I am going to create my own advent calendar to share with you, my dear readers: an expression of the themes of Advent through poetry, stories, art and music. To begin, an excerpt from T.S. Eliot's "East Coker":
I said to my soul, be still and wait without hope,
for hope would be hope for the wrong thing;
wait without love, for love would be love of the wrong thing;
there is yet faith, but the faith and the love are all in the waiting.
Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought:
So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.