Lessons all around us
Leaves don't drop they just let go,
And make a place for seeds to grow.
Every season brings a change,
A seed is what a tree contains,
To die and live is life's refrain.
~ “Leaves Don’t Drop” (from The Geography of Light album by Carrie Newcomer)
Carrie Newcomer is a poet / folk singer from the Bloomington part of Southern Indiana. Her people know how to watch and learn lessons from the land and here in this song from the trees. They watch the trees bare in the wintertime, budding in the springtime, full-bodied in the summer and they watch the letting go-season in the fall. Midwest people (and maybe all of us) know that so much of life can be learned from watching the trees live through their seasons.
Leaves don’t drop, they just let go, making room for seeds to grow. Advent knows of this letting go time. The season invites us to make space for remembering what many have witnessed during the falling leaves of autumn just a few weeks ago. Advent speaks not to emptiness, but to waiting for what’s to come next.
What are ways for your marking of this time? Perhaps you can set aside 15 minutes in the morning with a cup of tea or perhaps it’s better for you to light a candle at the end of the day. Or you might already have your best time and place.
This Advent season welcomes us into a time of waiting. It's just stopping. You might consider stopping and looking at your hands. These hands that have been holding on for so long, and now are being invited to let go. Try making a fist. Ball them up and squeeze real hard, just for a bit. And then let them go. We are invited to release what needs to be released in these Advent days. Now clasp your hands back together weaving your fingers in and through. Say a prayer for releasing what’s done and for welcoming what’s next.
Breath prayer: “welcoming” “what’s next”
Prayer: Eternal God of all seasons gather us to you, we pray. Bring us new language and with it a new way of shaping our holding on and letting go. And we are ever grateful. Amen.
Working in Family Experience at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, Lesley is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. A Candler School of Theology graduate, Lesley has just published her second book, Grief and the Psalms: Companioning the Moon for 29 Days (available on this website). She and her partner, Linda Ellis are raising their two sons, Brogan and Sam in Decatur, GA.