Advent Meditation by Florence Niven

It’s that time of year again. Time to dust off our memories of Christmas past, and display them lovingly throughout our homes and churches.

Christmas is different this year. How can it not be? We’ve had over a year and a half to think about the way things were. What we hold most dear, of course, what we’ve learned, but also – what we’ve lost. What no longer carries meaning; what no longer works. The pandemic has changed every little thing about every little thing, including how we approach the Advent season.

As we deck the halls with bows of holly, and reap the benefits of fewer restrictions, I hope we take the opportunity to honour the lessons of our time in isolation. Sift through the memories of Advents past – carefully and mindfully. Preserve those we most value, but have the courage to relinquish – or at least reimagine – those that no longer hold meaning.

Perhaps this is the year we place Hope, Peace, Joy and Love at the top of our wish lists.

Shall we follow the memories
of Advents past

that linger in the periphery – 

back to when it was safe
for friends and loved ones
to gather?

Shall we unpack them one by one

hold them tenderly in our hands
and assign to each an equal value

unique, precious –

polish even
the less than ideal reminders

of long line ups and lost luggage
and heightened anxiety

until they glisten
behind rose coloured glass?

Shall we retrieve from layers of tissue paper
the masks we used to hide behind – 

ones less obvious
than those made with cloth
and secured with elastic –

that we might wear them yet again?

Or shall we choose instead
to embrace only those parts
of our Advents past

that remain most dear?  

Remember fondly – what once was
relinquish – what no longer holds meaning
reimagine – what no longer works

then step bravely into the opportunities
offered by this new Advent.

And celebrate
the blessings of the season 
with faith restored

and hope



– Florence Niven