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December, Advent, and Lunar Spirituality

Advent’s traditional theme of waiting seems to have started early in 2020. Here we are in December, and we continue to wait for violence to end and racial justice to emerge, for the election to be resolved, for a vaccine to become available to all. What does this mean for our practice of the season of Advent this year?

Moon phases in the deep blue of the December sky might show a way to wait that is reflective of our current reality. Advent began with a 99.8% full moon on November 29th. Waning after that, it will appear as a lovely crescent through December 13th. Disappearing on the 14th, it reappears the next night as a sliver, then waxes until the full cold moon on December 30. On the Solstice it is 59% illumined, and on Christmas the moon is 84% illumined, lighting up our celebration of the Light of the World.

In her book Learning to Walk in the Dark, author Barbara Brown Taylor describes lunar spirituality as an experience of divine light that waxes and wanes. Does this match your spirit during this challenging year? Some days I feel, full of light and hope; other days it is new moon within and without; and at times I feel I am hanging onto the thinnest of crescents, fearful of dropping into darkness below. Taylor tells us that lunar spirituality is truer to her experience of divine light than full solar spirituality where divine light shines brightly every day.

I find myself aligning with lunar spirituality. I want it to enlighten my spiritual practice this Advent season; so, my Advent calendar this year shows the phases of the moon as they wax and wane, night by night. There are no doors to open, revealing a piece of chocolate or a meaningful quote to savor; instead, I will open my back door and head out into the night. I’ll invite the experience of waxing and waning to help me stay the course and savor the constancy of divine light. Will you join me?


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