Waiting as Longing - Daily Reflections for Advent
Today, from Anne Simmonds
"Maggie's Flowers," by Caitlin Ambery

Id forgotten how evocative Christmas music is.  It always touches me in that place of longing  sadness with no name.  I sit with my morning hot tea, light a candle, sit in front of my personal ‘altar’.  I listen to the Mystery of Christmas CD (Noel Edison: Elora Festival Singers).  I pick up the small picture of Hannah and me in her junior choir gown in front of Christmas trees in the sanctuary.  I feel so sad.  There is no junior choir, no people or music filling the sanctuary; no hugs, no Christmas best wishes.

I pick up the picture beside this one.  It is Lilly, on her 5th birthday, two weeks before her tragic death.  Tears come. Tears are healing.  Tears are an expression of love.  I have said this to hundreds.  I believe it.  It doesn’t mean I like it.  But this season, like no other ever in my life time, I promise myself I will let them flow.

In Ignatian spirituality there are two words: desolation and consolation.  Desolation is the moment when the Spirit/Divine feels absent.  Consolation is when we experience the Spirits presence.  I know from many years of personal experience that one way to move from desolation to consolation is to let the tears come.  Yet, when Im in the pit of desolation, sadness, grief, depression, I forget.  Maybe the spirit is prompting me to listen to music that breaks the inner dam allowing the gradual flowing of much needed consolation.

Everyone is dealing with loss and grief this season.  There is no hierarchy of pain and grief.  It just is, and giving ourselves permission to move through it is the best gift we can give ourselves.  Also likely to those who have to live with us!


Rev. Dr. Anne Simmonds is a facilitator, educator, counselor, and artist.  She was Minister of Pastoral Care at Rosedale United Church from 2001-2006 and continues to make RUC her home congregation.