Let’s imagine that we’re seated in a comfortable room and the atmosphere given by dim lights and candles have subdued our hurried minds, our breath has slowed, softened, and each of us with our pose settled, relaxed, has begun to consider an imaginary landscape. We have closed our eyes. Cold sand massages our feet and a lake’s wave reaches up to our toes. Our inner eyes spread upon the lake’s horizon along the front of dark green pines on the lake’s far shore. The distant panorama of green stretches up to our left into a peak until past the timber line the brittle earth emerges to point at the sun. It floats above in a cloudless sky. The suns rays warm us through our t-shirt and jeans. The mildest breeze softly brushes our hair. We feel safe and calm at the water’s edge. As we look toward the sky with our eyes closed, we can feel its warmth almost inviting us upward off our feet, but the invitation is unexpected: really? Could we really float upward and into the sky? Oh, but we want to. We wish the sun could envelop us in its safe round rays. We would even like to dissolve into the light, and just be totally radiant for awhile.
I would like to imagine now that we have a shawl wrapped around us. It is ragged from age and smells of mothballs. It hangs heavily on our shoulders. It feels a little moist, damp at one corner where it must have accidentally dragged in the water as we waded along the shore. As we contemplate the sun, we could almost feel ourselves lifted; but for the weight of the shawl we would have. Something about this shawl is holding us back. What is it? How can we name it and let it loose, just let it go? Then we could be free! We could float!
Why continue this meditation? Because our loved ones are waiting for us to let go. In Advent we might recognize what holds us back from catching up with our Sunlight, our loved ones. If we are the Christ the world needs now, and our witness remains to be seen, then what is the obstacle, the weighty shawl, that we burden ourselves with?