As we continue to consider “Hope” in this first week in Advent, I wanted to share this picture taken in my backyard this morning, which shows one of my favorite signs of hope in these colder, darker, and more barren days.
When we see trees with budding branches, we most often think of spring. But look closely… you may find something surprising waiting among the last lingering leaves of autumn… buds for leaves that will arrive in the spring! Trees are already preparing for spring blooming.
We often think of the winter as a time of dormancy for a deciduous tree. And it is. The leaves fall so there is no photosynthesis and no fresh sugar to fuel metabolic processes. Only the tree’s stored reserves, found primarily in the roots, will provide the energy for life. Temperatures plummet. Life slows down. But it does not stop. Individual cells will continue to perform the biochemical reactions necessary for the tree’s continued living. The tree is being readied for the returning light and warmth of spring.
This image for Hope gives me great joy, and takes on a quality of lightness and buoyancy.
The Collins dictionary defines buoyancy as “the power to keep something afloat, upward pressure on a floating object. Lightness or resilience of spirit.” What is the upward pressure that keeps you afloat this Advent season – and beyond? What gives you lightness and resilience of spirit?
Nan Merrill (Psalms for Praying) writes, “True hope is rooted in a Reality beyond ego and illusion. Hope that rises in our hearts is like a buoyant bubble of champagne.”
In her book Mystical Hope, Cynthia Bourgeault also writes about this buoyant quality of hope she experienced after the death of a dear friend and spiritual mentor:
“Everything seemed hopeless. Rafe was gone. My life was gone… And then the most extraordinary thing happened. As I sat out there shivering with cold and lost in my misery, suddenly, from my toes up, I could feel a strange lightness and joy start to bubble up in my being — almost like an empty glass being filled with champagne. It was not a mood shift, but a distinct physical sensation. There was an effervescence inside me that simply had not been there the moment before, as if I had been recharged, filled and fueled with an energy so buoyant that I simply could not sink even if I wanted to… my being coming to me from a far deeper place.”
For me, having hope does not always lead to what my ego would consider THE perfect outcome, but it is more like an opening, a flowering of possibility (even within darker days). Sometimes it is a small opening, barely perceptible, but other times it is wide, open-armed, and open-hearted, assent, “Yes, Come — Come Emmanuel!”
Here’s one of my favorite versions of this wonderful Advent hymn: “O Come O Come Emmanuel:”
Scents of the Season:
Pomanders are wonderfully fragrant, natural room and closet fresheners. They make great gifts or festive tree and package decorations.
I ran across the webpage below with suggestions and guidelines for making pomanders. It is really simple — and wonderfully fragrant. Enjoy!!