O Come, O Come Emmanuel

Today it is the first Sunday of Advent, and thus begins the Christian calendar. In the United Church of Canada, the Church I was Christened and Confirmed in, each Advent Sunday has a theme: on the first: Hope; the second: Peace; the third: Joy; and the fourth: Love.

It has been many years since I attended any church regularly, and I have always been more culturally Protestant than spiritually Christian, but my faith in Creation–the Creation of trees and the wind and soil and all the things that live and regenerate–persists. I remain ambivalent about the divinity of Christ, am indifferent to the Resurrection, and am not except in form a worshiper of the Holy Trinity–views that in some circles would make me a heretic–but my God, the God I speak to, and who hears my prayers, is the God embodied in the natural world, and I serve this God with steadfast conviction.

This morning the sky has the cast of twilight and the wind roars in the cedars. Sleet pellets the house, but we are warm and safe in the shelter of our Keep. The gardens have been put to bed, the compost banked for the winter. The trees we have planted this year–our major offering to the cosmos–are staked and mulched and protected. Little birds have taken shelter in the cedars, singing against the storm, and the fat squirrels nesting in the roof above my little office caper restlessly but remain under cover.

The first Sunday of Advent celebrates Hope. And today I find hope in the light that shines in the darkness, and have faith that the darkness shall not overcome it.

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