The Earthy Practice of Advent

All Creation Waits: The Advent Mystery of New Beginnings by Gayle Boss is not your run-of-the-mill Advent devotional. It begins with this quote from Meister Eckhart

“Every single creature is full of God and is a book about God. Every creature is a word of God. If I spend enough time with the tiniest creature, even a caterpillar, I would never have to prepare a sermon. So full of God is every creature.”

      All Creation Waits steps over modern notions of human centered knowing and settles into what the land and its animals already know. From the painted turtle who practices life sustaining simplicity to the wild turkey who knows the sufficiency of community, Boss makes the space for each animal witness to offer their wisdom. Their wisdom is not intellectually refined or debated, but instead tested and tried. Thousands of years have gone into animal knowing. The wisdom of the little brown bat, the raccoon, and the meadow vole offer to us a mystery we cannot get from human logic.

      Here on the Western Slope of Colorado, we are a family that practices Advent. It is a way that we mark our lives by the life of Jesus. We also live close to the land. We have observed the old wisdom of the hen who ceases her egg laying as the days get shorter and the squirrel who continuously stashes pinion nuts in the south corner of the goat stall.

      I know a child who speaks the language of the animals. They are her confidants. The secrets they share are plentiful and deep. All Creation Waits resonated with her. She liked that the animals were not “made in the image” of human beings—personified—but were allowed their own knowing far outside and beyond their sister and brother human.

      I loved the ending, Christmas Day, the chapter highlights that what animals know, children know too. Theirs is a connection built on a mystery that often slips right through adult fingers.

      David Klein created the illustrations in such a way that the intricate details and use of light and dark draw us, the readers and seekers, into the intimate world of the animal.   

      If you’re looking for something a little different this Advent, and especially if you or the people you live with are drawn to the mystery of creation All Creation Waits will not disappoint.

      Check it out over at Paraclete Press.