Illuminate: An Advent Poem

christmas candle

As the mystery of Advent and the frenzy of the holidays culminate in this day, the day we celebrate God’s embodiment in our midst, may we find space for rest and reflection. May the hope of Immanuel grow new life, new joy, and new compassion in our lives and in our communities. And may this poem from Brittany Deininger, a first-year MA in Theology & Culture student at The Seattle School of Theology & Psychology, open each of us even more deeply to the beauty and holiness of this season. From all of us here at The Allender Center and The Seattle School, merry Christmas to you and yours.

The first word you ever spoke was “light”
and the heat from your voice thawed us.
You spoke your poetry into being,
created with words like sacred alchemy,
to make even a fragile thing
give birth to the holy.

You began with words
a genealogy of faith, lit
a fire in the human voice
and said, “testify”
and said “create”
and said “come.”   

Listen, to the voices weaving
the sum of life, still
hanging in the loom:

This is the plea of Eve,
fashioned from Earth, speaking
with dust still on her breath: “Become
a little more pregnant
every day
with poems and books, movements
and dreams, still developing cell
by cell. Carry them until they’re ready
to be born with depth
to speak of experience and expression
as one. Wait a while
where the rooted night grows,
you’ll feel its movement coming ashore.
Give in to parenting
your close-knit gift to the world.”

This is the plea of Mary,
who took time to be holy
held a fire in her belly
and pondered it in her heart,
“Become a little more pregnant
every day with God and God’s voice,
with hope and promises. Build
the church inside you, not a building
but a soul, faith straining
to have birth in the silence
of a holy night and a dawn of grace.”

Brittany Deininger is a first-year MA in Theology & Culture student at The Seattle School where she is exploring the creative act and voice as tools for transformation and healing. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Poetry from The College of Idaho and currently serves as summer faculty at The Grunewald Guild, where she teaches writing as a spiritual practice. Her work has been featured in anthologies and the On Being blog. Brittany and her husband, Jeffrey, are new transplants to Seattle from Tacoma, WA and are enjoying a grand adventure together.