Bending into Advent

Nativity Lato Garcia

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.

Holy One
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.

If you’re steeping yourself in Advent today, you can read more here and here and in the archives of my site.

Join me on the journey. Rest, Reflect, Replenish


  1. Shirley Childs on November 30, 2022 at 7:17 am

    As always words that offer pondering and prayer. Thank you! Shirley Childs

    • Catherine Smith on December 1, 2022 at 11:22 am

      Thank you, Shirley. Advent graces in your pondering and your prayer.

  2. Kerry Howarth on November 29, 2022 at 5:19 pm

    Advent Blessings to you Catherine! Bent, or not, a beautiful, inspired and hopeful post. Prayers ascending for quick healing and a full recovery! ❤

  3. Margie Ann MacDonald on November 29, 2022 at 12:19 pm

    Catherine this is beautiful! Since cervical surgery two years ago this week, I have not been able to bend my neck naturally – it is always a bit bent. I am so very fortunate to have recovered almost completely but it has certainly been a learning experience through this recovery process. Thank you for putting my thoughts into such eloquent words.

    • Catherine Smith on November 29, 2022 at 1:31 pm

      Margie Ann, I am so glad these words resonated in your own story. Thank you for sharing it here. Healing graces as you live into this last space of recovering and recollect the discoveries that wait there.

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