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, an Assistant Instructor at The Seattle School of Theology & Psychology, open each of us even more deeply to the beauty and holiness of this season.

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 contained the weight of yes,
held a fire in her belly
and pondered it in her heart,
“Become a little more pregnant every day
with the full-orbed strangeness
of incarnation, matter and mystery entangled
in hope. Build the church inside you,
not a structure but a soul, a body, a belonging
straining to have birth in the silence
of a holy night and a dawn of grace.”

Brittany Deininger is a poet and theologian who holds a BA in Creative Writing/ Poetry from The College of Idaho and an MA in Theology and Culture from The Seattle School of Theology and Psychology where she works as an Assistant Instructor. Her academic work and poetry pursue themes of memory, lament, spirituality, embodiment, trauma, and healing that center in traditions of feminist and ecotheology. Her work has appeared in On Being, EcoTheo Review, and other blogs. She makes her home in the Pacific Northwest.