It’s Advent and Australia is a wonderful place to celebrate it. Days are longer, the air is warmer, colour is everywhere. Tarella Spirituality invites you to colour your days with the vibrancy of a jacaranda in full bloom. Hear the words of a prophet and a poet as you water the garden. Imagine how it would be to lay the baby in a coolamon instead of a manger. Find time to sit in the quiet as you wait for the God who dwells among us.
I like to think that Isiah was using jacaranda theology when he visioned the coming of God-made–man as flowers bursting into bloom, “Let the wasteland rejoice and bloom.” There is a street in a suburb near me that is lined with jacaranda trees. When they burst into flower I know Christmas is nearly here. It’s such an Australian sign, because even though the tree itself grows all over the world only “down under” does it blossom in Advent. But Christmas in Australia is full of contradictions. Those vibrant bluey-purple flowers on the stark branches of the jacaranda are a symbol of the contradictions of Christ’s birth. A baby born to unknown parents, cradled in a manger. A Messiah, heralded by centuries of prophesy, but unrecognised except by night shepherds and some travelling astronomers. A Middle Eastern child, born in an occupied country. Christmas reminds us that we find God in the tensions and paradoxes of life, just as it is.
Enthuse my depressed emotions.
Re-energise my inner weariness.
Brush off my dusty dreams.
Ease my sore relationships.
Deepen my sense of self-esteem.
Place more softness at my centre.
Emmanuel, God-with-us, make your home in me.
(I can’t remember where I first read this Advent prayer, so I may be breaking copyright.)
Get into the Advent spirit– by delaying the appearance of the Christmas tree for as long as you can. If that’s not so easy, then put the tree up early, but leave it bare. The undecorated tree is a visual clue of something unfinished, of something yet to come. Alternatively, you could treat the tree as a giant Advent calendar. Add an ornament or two each day from November 30 until Christmas.