Saturday, November 26, 2011

advent: two sister's thoughts

{Kelli's Thoughts}
Advent. What does it mean? I began asking that question after my sister shared the seed of an idea with me several weeks ago. So I started to read, and read, and read. Beautiful books and essays, poems selected by Christie, scripture that is unchanging yet new every day. It was this newness, this fresh-eyes look into something that was, for me, only foggy memories of my five year old self at the kitchen table wishing it was my turn to blow out the purple candles, that stirred my heart.
And I have been astounded.
As the message of advent became clearer in my mind, the pictures of advent began forming themselves all around me. Photographers seek light, and light is no passive thing waiting to be found. Light is life. Light shines into darkness. Light is coming, to you and to me, always coming. It is we who are watching and waiting for light, and that is the heart of Advent.
"We shall be celebrating no beautiful myth, no lovely piece of traditional folklore, but a solemn fact. God has been here once historically, but, as millions will testify, he will come again with the same silence and the same devastating humility into any human heart ready to receive him." (J.B. Phillips, "The Dangers of Advent", Watch for the Light.)
It is my hope and prayer that something new will stir in your heart this year. That some part of this gift will take root and grow and astound you too.
Come! It is Advent! Wait with us...

a gift  
{Christie's Thoughts}
What does Advent look like? It's a strange question for me to be asking. I am not a visual artist; words are my medium. Yet, when I try to define Advent it is usually images, rather than words, that come to mind. Candlelight. Evergreens. A full moon on a very dark night.
I think that I turn to images rather than words because Advent, itself, is a question rather than an answer. I'm afraid that my words will pin it down in a way that defies its very nature. The writer Shauna Niequist puts it well: "Advent is the question, the pleading, and Christmas is the answer to that question, the response to the howl."

There are a few words that seem right, to me; words like waiting and longing. Anticipation and expectation. However, I think that the right words for Advent will remain few. Images, on the other hand... can you imagine a beautiful stack of them, growing and growing? I can. Picture after picture reminding us that the Light will return. Our Light will return.
Will you add your picture? Will you look, with us, for the return of Light?
At the heart of Advent is a belief that light will return, no matter how long or dark the night. What does this belief look like to you?

{Read more of Christie's thoughts and her beautiful introduction to this Advent season on her website, and be sure to "like" her on facebook or sign up for daily emails so you can keep up with the posts in the coming month. If you are a photographer, please join me in the Flickr group here to contribute your own images of Advent. If you are not a photographer, we hope you will still join us to watch as the season quietly unfolds in pictures.}

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