A Simple Advent {poetry link-up}

“This candle represents hope,” I told my children during our first Sunday in Advent devotional time. We read some verses from the prophet Isaiah. We sang “Silent Night” because it is one of the few carols the children know. We made special ornaments and hung them on the tree.

My children embody well the spirit of hope, of expectation. Christmas is coming, and they have complete faith that it will surprise, amaze, and surpass their dreams. Theirs is a world where promises are kept. And I marvel, as I do each year. I follow their cue, as I do each year. Little children are showing the way to the Kingdom of God, once again. They are always the ones showing the way.

“What does the next holy fire represent?” Kaitlin asked. I did not call the Advent candles “holy fire.” So I’m paying attention. I think she knows what she’s talking about more than I do. I know when it's time to step out of teacher mode and sit in the student's chair.

I was fuzzy on the details, because like all adults, I am quick to forget the holy moments and get caught up in the urgency of daily demands. So we looked it up. Sources vary, but we chose one of the simpler interpretations:

Week 1: Hope

Week 2: Love

Week 3: Joy

Week 4: Peace

In the spirit of keeping Advent simple, these four themes- hope, love, joy, peace- will be our poetry prompt for December.

There are a couple of options here.

Option 1: Write one four-stanza poem visiting a theme for each of the stanzas. You can spend all month working on it and link up at the end.

Option 2: Write one poem each week visiting the corresponding theme for that week. Link up each of your poems as you complete them.

There will be no example this time, as I have scaled back my writing time in order to spend more of this season with my family. I will work alongside my readers this time, instead of rushing to get it done by a deadline. We will see how this works out. I will share as soon as I am able. In the meantime, here are some tips to help you find your angle:

1. Write from that place of longing in your heart; the one that wants Christmas to be beautiful again.

2. Go deep. What do you need to say about hope? What do you need someone to say to you about hope? What gives you hope? Similarly, what needs to be said about love, and joy, and peace?

3. Sit with the words, and see what they ignite in you. Find and photograph, draw or paint images that represent the meaning of the words to you. Then write a reflection to your art.

4. To reiterate: Keep. It. Simple. Be like a little child. The one who believed all the Christmas stories. The one whose faith in abundance was unshakeable. That one.

Blessed holidays. Remember those who are in mourning. Invoke the name of the Prince of Peace. Give the gift of your heart and your hands and your words.

Jamie Bagley