Dec. 5, Feast of St. Sabbas, a monk and hermit of the 5th century. He prophesied that a pilgrim sharing his name should be given the Milk-Giver Icon, or Γαλακτοτροφουσα. Thursday of the first week of Advent. Last day of Chanukkah.
I chose black and white for this photo because without color, it truly becomes an image of light and shadow. It is also the last day of Chanukkah, the ancient and original Festival of Lights. I'm sorry I missed it this year, but our calendar is so full already, it was probably for the best.
This season (if you live in the northern hemisphere) is all about that juxtaposition of bright and dark; as we climb into the valley and emerge, in late December, at the turning of the tide, at the tilting of the earth back to warmth and light. The sun is failing earlier and earlier each afternoon, but it makes time spent in its company all the more precious. In addition to the candles on the Advent wreath, on our home altars, and in the kitchen, we've brought out the stringed bulbs to deck the doors and mantles. I like taking my time decorating for Christmas. It increases the anticipation, the almost-impatience awaiting the coming of the Christ Child.
"Anyone thinking of the Holy Child as born in December would mean by it exactly what we mean by it; that Christ is not merely a summer sun of the prosperous but a winter fire for the unfortunate." -- G.K. Chesterton
I'm hungrily devouring the Advent-y goodness put out by all this time of year. Fresh copies of Soul Gardening and Dappled Things arrived in the mail yesterday, perfect for evening meditations and cozy reading over a cuppa tea. Molly has a pretty and neatly organized printable of her liturgical seasonal plans. That's a God-send for someone like me who wants to jump submersion-Baptism style into the gorgeous Church traditions but doesn't have the time or mental clarity to sit down and plan. Christy-of-the-noble-moniker tempers my over-the-top enthusiasm with good advice and a "calm the Jessie-tree-down" post! Masha's contemplative reading is always inspiring. And, of course, Haley.
I've got more on my mind for Advent Unplugged, but I want to dedicate a single post to that later. This one's Cari's. So go forth and see the light!
Psst, don't forget to put your shoes out for St. Nicholas tonight!