And, just like that, Advent is here. At Minnehaha, that means Christmas Pageant preparations are under way, the Advent Wreath is set, plans are being made for Christmas Eve services. At stores, it means holiday displays and sales are in full force. It coincides with our approach to the Winter Solstice – with nights getting longer and longer.
Advent is the season of waiting – of anticipation and reflection. As we move closer to Christmas, to celebrating the birth of Jesus, we’re reminded of the intense need for hope, peace, joy, and love. We’re reminded how much we need light in the darkness. So, how can make space in our busy days to nurture – in ourselves & others – hope and wonder?
Folks that have been around Minnehaha this past month might have noticed me hobbling around. One misstep while out enjoying a beautiful autumnal day landed me in the ER with a dislocated ankle, and six weeks in a boot (hopefully no more). It’s been good to look to the trees in inspiration: to see the power and the beauty in their letting go. Those leaves which nourished the trees throughout the summer are released to the ground, are beautiful falling to the ground, return to the earth to continue to nourish. The trees must let go of them. It’s part of their life cycle, it’s what allows them to survive.
There are things in our lives that nourish us in one season, but might need to be let go off in another. There are things that we must let go of in order to survive and thrive. Being forced to slow down makes this reality more stark. When hands are needed for crutches, they simply cannot keep as many balls juggling in the air. So, I am grateful for people who remind me that it’s okay to let some drop. I am grateful for the inspiration of the trees. I am also grateful for the compassion and generosity of people who take on new tasks or share in responsibilities. It’s what being a part of a community is all about.
So, as we move into a new month, I hope that you & your families find moments for gratitude, and for clarity in what things can be let go of as you continually move into a new season. I hope that Minnehaha is a place where you find – with grace – the courage to continually grow and change and nourish yourselves and others.
I am always so excited for summer’s arrival, to depart from regular routines, to live outside a bit more. I am equally excited to say goodbye to summer, I am ready for routines to return and for autumnal blue skies. I always love the color of leaves changing, the smell of pumpkins, visiting apple orchards, and even back-to-school shopping. But, for me the most comforting part of fall is that return to routine. Having a predictable rhythm to our days offers security. And, as you do when a “new year” begins, I find myself considering how we want to being this (school) year anew. What do we want as part of our daily routines? What do we want in our weekly routines? How will we achieve that allusive balance? How will we make time for all the things we want to do? How will we make time for each other? What activities will invigorate us? What things will offer us renewal? What will offer time for connection?