I entered Advent as a bent woman. I could not raise my head to see the blue stem of the candle and its blossom of light. I was a woman bowed for a week and today I am straightened, unfurled.
I have come to know two senses of being bent, one constricting and one cradling. They aren’t mutually exclusive I’ve discovered.
I can’t claim the long weight of the bent woman in Christian scripture, only my own briefly enforced bending. Last week, following eye surgery, I was instructed to bend. Day after day for seven days, I was to sit, to stand, to move, with my face gazing groundward. As the days passed my shoulders screamed. I was at times a stiff-necked woman. I could feel the channels of healing harden.
So I wrote to empty, to receive, to discover — suppleness — to wonder at how this posture has affected my Advent entry or Advent’s entry within me.
Today I’ll just stay that out of the stiff-necked tension, the screaming shoulders, came the image of a mother bent over the wonder of her child, the wonder of this coming child. That too has been my experience of this bent week.
Soon I will lift my eyes to the blue candle and its light. But even now, on the eve of my unfolding, it is born to me; a softened bending over the infinitely tender coming of the incarnate One, the weight of Love in my nearly unready arms.
Come to us when we are bent
with fear or despair or indifference
and when the world seems bent
with violence or consumption or the worship of productivity.
Shape the curve of us
around the holy hungers
of your eternally birthed creation.
In the name of the New Born in whom you breathe. Amen.