I’m not a Christian. I was brought up as one, though. I’ve been christened and confirmed and I married in a Church and took my vows, made in the sight of God, very seriously. My Christian faith disappeared as my marriage disintegrated and for a while I had no faith at all. I’m still not sure what my re-emerging faith is actually in. I still find comfort in the prayer I created as a child, which used to be said every night, but the comfort is in its familiarity and its incredibly simplicity which means I can address it to the universe at large, rather than God, without needing to change a word.
Christmas is not so easy to divorce from its origins but thanks to capitalism turning into more of a spend and feast than anything approaching a religious ceremony (unless you go to Church, which isn’t even possible this year) I see no reason not to engage in at least a little of the seasonal mayhem and focus on bringing light and joy into the darkest month of the year.
I vividly remember the Vicar in our village telling me that Advent could be seen as a pilgrimage of the heart. That it should be treated as the expansive ying to abstemious lent’s yang. A time of journeying in the soul rather than on foot, marshalling your thoughts towards the longest night with the intent of kindling sparks of joy wherever they may be found and focusing with gratitude on what you have been blessed with, as well as rejoicing in the blessing of the birth of Christ.
I’m not counting down to celebrating the birth of a man around whom a religion that I not longer wish to be a part of was built. But I am more than happy to count down to the shortest day, and from there onto Christmas Day, if it is cause to focus on the good things in my world, those things that bring me joy, and in the process spending a little bit of time each day brightening up the inside of my own head.
To which end I’ve decided to share a photo or video from my daily walks for the 24 days of Advent. I am lucky enough to have a patch of ancient woodland behind the house I’m currently living in and sharing the beauty of that seems like the least I can do.
And thus I bring you the first offering of Outside Advent, a sun filled video from the corner of the field which abuts the wood, with a little bit of bird song at the start for a truly uplifting experience.
From tomorrow each post will include a little “thought for the day” as well as the picture/video. There will be a daily quotes from one of myriad of writers who have put their words and ideas most firmly in my head and heart, plus some thoughts of my own about either the photo, the quote, or both. But for now I hope you enjoy the video and I wish you twenty four joyous days no matter which religion you are, or are not, a part of.