Advent gives me the chance to reencounter the lush, dynamic vocabulary of the Christian tradition. The words on my round-sticker calendar are like old friends who are familiar yet always new. Like words in Scripture they are not stagnant. They reveal something new about themselves each time I spend time with them. It would be easier to think they have a single definition and once I’ve learned it, my work is done. But that would be putting a choke chain on what the words have to say to me or what God has to reveal to me through them. The Christian faith is not summed up in a set of one-dimensional, unchanging words.
A line from the Billy Collins poem called Introduction to Poetry comes to mind. Billy Collins describes his students’ way of dealing with poetry: “…all they want to do is tie the poem to a chair with rope and torture a confession out of it. They begin beating it with a hose to find out what it really means.” Like poems, we can try to pin down the words of our faith or we can spend a lifetime with them and slowly marinate in the expansive beauty of their height, depth, and breadth.
Below is my friend Cindy’s first two weeks of Advent in word and drawing. Cindy described her experience of using Advent calendars in the December 3 post on my blog. Mostly Markers is Cindy’s blog about “drawing, doodles, and a few words.”