Advent Diary – 15th December 2015

Weaving

The Cloth of Midwinter

Malcolm uses Anne Ridler’s “Christmas and Common Birth” to reflect upon this day. Immediately, as an amateur weaver (I don’t weave often enough) his words re-sound in my heart. As a creator of new cloth, as a mother who gave new life, as a lover of Creation who takes joy in new shoots breaking through Winter hardened earth and who delights in every sparkle of birdsong, I ask myself ‘what is my cloth?”

As I write these words I am thinking upon what would my cloth be woven from? What memories, what significant awakenings would be represented? It is a powerful and profound evocation within me; would this become my life’s prayer shawl? Would I use a plain weave or a twill or would it be constructed of random pockets of texture, a little twill here, overshot there, the thoughts begin to literally interweave in my mind.

I know one thing, the re-sounding structure would be strong and reliable in its simplicity reflective of the life I try to keep, as a strong woman, as a gentle matriarch with a simple life. I would make sure the cloth is woven with love and to sustain an everlasting warmth and comfort to those who need it, like Christ gives me in my time of need.

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I have useda photo of one of my shawls that I have woven. Rich in colour and warmth and I like to think that its warp and weft are intertwined with love and prayer.

Malcolm’s spoken word can be found here.

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Advent Diary -14th December 2015

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Rolling Seasons

Out with the old and in with the new doesn’t always seem to work. Sometimes the old and new clash with such ferocity that flints spark, crumble and fall; the spark ignites the new yet invigorates the old and it has to be that both have to exist in unity, interwoven eternally and one cannot exist without the other.

All creation is born from all, just as the roots reach down to caress old bones and old foundations, giving out to its decay by releasing nutrients into the soil and therefore sustaining new growth. In Britain, the old faith lives in the new, both as old as each other though the Divine Creator remains above all creation in all aspects. This unity must be something to build from, to lay down new foundations upon the old. The dying gives nutrients to new life and woven in and out through all threads is the bright Light that exists within us; for me this is the Christ Light, my Divine Spark. Logos is the thread, GOD is the Creator.

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The old and the new and the old. The Goldfinch, St John the Baptist’s scroll and cross, the Green Man.

Malcolm’s spoken word can be found here.

https://malcolmguite.wordpress.com/2015/12/14/autumn-by-david-baird/

Advent Diary – 13th December 2015

DSC_0002 Winter Blooms

Malcolm informs me that St Lucy’s Day is on what used to be celebrated as Midwinter – Solstice – on the old calendar, when winters were snow laden and cold. The only plants brave enough to flower were the hardy Hellebores, with their delicate colour. This is Nature’s bow to the coming Light, the new season of new life, a day when every glimpse of my Morning Star is all the more precious.

At this time of year and in Advent we await and anticipate the coming of His Light into the world; to see us through human eyes. Mary anticipated the birth of her beloved son and in those final days of pregnancy, you are filled with a mixture of tiredness and fatigue but also fear and excitement. Christmas for me starts when the Christmas Candlelight service begins and then onto a heady Midnight Mass before we are immersed into Communion on Christmas; and on the way home in the dark of night, the Christmas lights in house windows sparkle on deserted streets.

The stillness in the air and in a tiny corner of my garden, under my little Hazel Tree, the Hellebore quietly nods in the stirring Winter winds.

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Normally, my Hellebores are blooming but this year they seem to be resting with new flowers only just starting to form. We had the formation of strawberries earlier this month so I am not surprised in the confusion in Nature’s natural seasonal clock.

Malcolm’s spoken word can be found here.

Advent Diary – 12th December 2015

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Memories of Time

The stillness of the Winter evenings, sounds that hang on the cooler air. Time is still. When we return home from work or the day, the lock on the door clicks shut and it is like entering into Sanctuary, a Narnia moment if only for a brief flicker. Some of these moments are cold, depressing and tinged with sadness, the house feels cold and we have to muster great strength to switch a light on and invite the warmth in.

Malcolm mentions Tennyson’s distant rural church bells and how they flicker a memory back into being. I wonder what the church bells in the distance will remind me of in years to come, the village church near the creek where the tide comes up on the road. Will they be good reminiscent memories, I wonder? Maybe, after reading Tennyson and Malcolm’s reflection, I will think of them differently.

During Lent, Malcolm used Dante’s ‘Inferno’ and the moment Dante left the cave to face the new light of day, I was grieving for the loss of my beloved Welsh Auntie. Dante will always be that moment that is reminiscent in sorrow and loss.

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My poor sketch represents a local church that does have a peel of bells and is heard echoing up the creek. It is situated not far from the water’s edge and technically does not reflect into the water .. however, if you get the right viewpoint you can see the windows lit up if walking home during the darker Winter evenings from across the water. And then, I go to Malcolm’s page and there he uses an image similar to mine! Wonderful.

Malcolm’s spoken word can be heard here.

Advent Diary -11th December 2015

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Winter Breadcrumbs

Christina Rossetti’s remarkable and deeply moving poem, “The Despised and the Rejected” needs a candlelit chair, the glowing embers of a fire and deep peace to contemplate its profoundness. I know I have rejected Christ in some part of every day through a weakness of heart and thought, sometimes I am too dragged in on selfish thoughts of my own pain whilst still struggling with recovery from an injury, but in my defence not all the time – just those moments of weakness.

I find it hard to accustom my sight to Christ’s breadcrumbs on the streets of London and because of my own discomfort I lose sight of Him and I struggle to look past the thicket of branches in the woods and only look at my own feet instead of His. I need to delight in finding His breadcrumbs as I did not so long ago on the walks to Chichester University from the train station; the change of destination has aided a fog to surround me.

The depth of self-pity and inward sadness leaves us in a deep and dark place, unable to see outwards, unable to shake the damp fog that unwantingly clings to us and saps our strength and spiritual reserves. If only I made myself look up, if only I had given my time to Him, a small portion of my day in the quiet stillness of Listening for Him …. if only a church door was open on the way home and a candle lit. I know I would then regain and replenish my longed-for spiritual strength in a place of sanctuary.

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Not a good depiction of my idea but the breadcrumbs show themselves as representations of the Cross in leaves, in fallen bark or in the birdsong that surrounded me on this part of my walk. These are reminders to be thankful for all that is good in my life and the little birds represent God’s messengers in a brief, fleeting moment.

Malcolm’s reading can be found here.

 

 

Advent Diary – 10th December 2015

IMG_20151226_201750 Kindling

It is very easy, when the nights draw in early and the Winter storms weather our faces and our souls, that we soak in the gloom about us and withdraw inwards. We protect our inner light and protect it under a bushel, we do not set it up high for others to see.

It is this time of year when memorial lists at Church grow longer, more wretched and desperately lonely souls walk in front of moving trains and we, the commuters, who also want the safety and warmth of our own destinations are struck by the sadness upon hearing of another fatality on the line; we never know who they are but can only pass on a solitary prayer from our seats and not see the real gut wrenching pain felt by a mother or father, spouse or child, in loss. It is this reason that we must not shrink away and hide our light but expose His radiance through ourselves.

I admit to finding it a struggle to share His joy for all through my own sadness, sometimes only having the strength to be strong for our own loved ones but we dig deep and rekindle our light time and time again through momentary prayers. And then, I see an illuminated window in a church and know that someone is keeping a vigil. For this I am thankful for it is a breadcrumb left by Christ for me to follow and rekindle my own self.

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Malcolm’s spoken word can be found here.

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Advent Diary -9th December 2015

IMG_20151218_222434 The Light and the Dark

I’m running slightly behind schedule with Malcolm’s wonderful readings  but actually maybe it was meant to be. This week, I arranged to meet up with two American friends who have flown into the UK for a concert we are all attending in a few days time. Our association with the music, through the music, led us to arrange a visit to an elderly gentleman who lives in almost isolation at the top of an office block.

It was a wonderful afternoon to spend time with an elderly, forgotten professor of music and one who knows the magic and beauty enfolded within each musical note, that inbetween level that speaks to our emotions and touches us most deeply. As a composer, he knows and understands the importance of a rightly placed pause, the breath of a note, the repetition of a heartbeat. This is a rare gift. He understands the sacred silence inbetween the notes. He understands that, at a point we all eventually reach, our own song will end in our mortal lives. Inbetween we have the ability to make our life into a sacred song and our notes are found within the pauses. I do hope that our visit to our elderly friend enlightened him as much as his music in his life enlightened ours.

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In each fold of skin in our ageing faces lies a hidden note, a hidden memory and a life seeking wisdom and harmony and peace with our Creator, our wonderful Counsellor.

Malcolm’s wonderful musical, spoken poems can be found here for today.

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