by Rev. Dr. Tracy Clayton Sexton
2020 has been a year of waiting. As the new Christian year dawns with Advent, we find ourselves in the season of waiting and can draw wisdom from the stories of All Creation Waits. Its author, Gayle Boss, invites us into a different celebration of Advent. What if this year we celebrate Advent with intentional waiting? The stories of how the animals prepare to wait through a long, cold winter give us different examples of waiting and can help us examine how we wait.
In a webinar, Gayle Boss explains,
“You get turtle that buries herself for six months and then you get muskrat who is just as active in winter as he is in summer. I loved that there are many ways to get through the dark and the cold. Just like for us, we don’t all have to pull inward and go very, very still for the whole of our dark season. Whether that is a literal dark season or a metaphorical, emotionally dark season. There are many ways to adapt and be healthy.”
What if we try joining the author in her Advent tradition, listening to the animals? And perhaps we’ll go further with her—decorations in her home are limited to an Advent wreath and Advent calendar until Christmas Eve, when, after the season of waiting, she decorates her home to celebrate the coming of Christ.
Consider Gathering a Group:
We hope you will consider waiting with us and all creation in the darkness this year. You might even gather a small group to virtually meet weekly to discuss this year’s experience of Advent. Do you resonate with any of the animals? Do you find the waiting more bearable knowing that All Creation Waits? You may want to explore the history of O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.
Preparation: Buy a copy of the book, All Creation Waits by Gayle Boss [Bookshop.org, Amazon]. Have your Advent wreath and a copy of O Come, O Come, Emmanuel (or The United Methodist Hymnal #211) ready to begin on Sunday, November 29. The book has 25 entries; we have added some preparation so that we may begin on the first Sunday of Advent.
Starting November 29, the first Sunday of Advent, each day, light your Advent wreath and sing (or speak aloud if you prefer) O Come, O Come Emmanuel. Consider lingering in the darkness as the candles share their glow. Perhaps consider what it is like to wait when you don’t know what is to come.
Watch this 3 minute video on the author’s website.
(If you refrain from technology as you celebrate Sabbath, then watch the day before.)
On Monday, November 30, after lighting the candle and singing, listen to a portion of this webinar with the author. You will have to register, then the webinar will play. Find it here. Listen from the beginning, or start at 1:46 and go through 11:24. This will give you an introduction to Advent and a peek at the Advent calendar the author created. In addition, or in lieu of the video, read the book’s introduction.
Consider: Does this inspire you to create your own Advent calendar? Watch (24:04-26:48) to see a version of a prayer calendar someone else was inspired to create. (Start at 31:57 for a question about the type of paper comprising the author’s prayer calendar).
From December 1, each day, light your Advent wreath and sing, then read a story of an animal. For the first day, you may want to listen to the author read the story of turtle (same webinar link as November 30, 11:25-15:25).