The Time of Advent

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By Juanita Greyvenstein

Flickr - Thomas Hackl Advent wreath. Picture: Thomas Hackl

Advent, observed by Christian Earth Keepers, is nearly upon us. While the year is racing to an end and we are running frantically to finish work, organise holiday plans and family get-togethers, the Season of Advent creates a space for us to cultivate consciousness. We can also substitute other a words for Advent: being aware, alive, attentive, alert or awake. As the disciples were called to keep watch while Jesus was praying in Getsemane. It is a time to connect to our values and our vision for the type of world that we want to foster.

Advent is also synonymous with hope - something, we as Earth Keepers need. It is difficult to keep committed to the vision of a more egalitarian and harmonious life for all creatures on our Planet, when we see powerful corporations, political leaders and international organisations act as is the planet is not crying out in pain and desperation – acting as if climate change and extinction are not realities.

The Season of Advent reminds us that the destruction around us is not the final word or verdict about life on earth. Advent opens us up to the future, a future of justice and peace, which is calling to us and beckons us to a restored world.

As we saw the destruction of wildfire on the Cape mountains a year ago, we might see only a scorched landscape - ash, cut down stumps and dead plants around us. But we know that this is not the end. That shoots of green soon appear; with time life does emerge and life is restored. To liken the work that we do as Earthkeepers to shoots of green emerging from an ashened landscape gives me hope. It might be small and frail but it is sure – it is a sign of God’s promise of a restored earth, and it opens us up to trust that God is with us and His vision for restored life is sure.

A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse,

and a branch shall grow out of his roots.

The spirit of the LORD shall rest on him,

the spirit of wisdom and understanding,

the spirit of counsel and might,

the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.

His delight shall be in the fear of the LORD.

He shall not judge by what his eyes see,

or decide by what his ears hear;

4but with righteousness he shall judge the poor,

and decide with equity for the meek of the earth

(Isaiah 11:1-4)

We would like to share with you a wonderful resource to help you create spaces of mindfulness this advent season. This Ecological Advent Calendar, developed by the Revd Glynis Goyns, is an interactive, intergenerational resource that families or churches can use this advent season: Though the calendar was created last year, we invite you to shift the days and still make use of this special resource to celebrate an ecological Advent.

jesse-tree-2 Example of a Jesse Tree

jesse-tree Another example of a Jesse Tree