“How shall this be?”


Something is out of alignment. There are cheerful twinkling lights everywhere and music and festivities, but we find ourselves in inner turmoil. How can we celebrate when the world is such a mess? How can we countenance the juxtaposition of so much joy and so much sorrow at the same time? Loneliness is more acute, depression and despair grow increasingly and the dark night of the soul lingers. It is hard to see how we are going to make it. This is Advent.

How do we deal with this? How do we understand what is happening within our souls and in the whole world as we walk toward the midnight hour? How can Christ live and work among us in this cold world? That is exactly what Mary asked, “How? How shall this be?”

It is the feminine in us which asks “how” instead of “what.” It is a heart question because it is open to possibility. It bears an innocence when we ask it with the assumption that there is a way, and we just haven’t found it yet.

In asking, “How will the world ever be at peace? How will we feed, clothe, educate and care for the people of the earth? How will we reconcile our differences?” with an assumption that we will be able to find a way, we move toward the light. We hollow out a space for an answer.

Then if we are able to acknowledge that we do not act alone, and not only in cooperation with other human beings, but with the spiritual world as well, we take a great leap forward. For the spirit can only work with us when we step out of our personal and worldly concerns.

We are working with other divine beings. We are not alone. Many amazing changes are underway. There is grace and there is mercy. We are capable of forgiveness and also of compassion.

It is a dark time, but there are many treasures in it. Stay awake as you prepare for celebration, keep yourself in the “state of preparedness” for what is to come.


4 thoughts on ““How shall this be?”

  1. Thank you – this week I’d been struggling to reconcile the turmoil with the usual Advent traditions/mood so this post is very good timing.

  2. There truly are golden treasures deep at the center of the darkness. They reveal themselves not by our will but if, as you say, we chisel a space, allow, and create a mood of expectancy, like the arms of a mother, the Child’s light can be born into those
    waiting arms.

    • As Mark Nepo puts it so eloquently:

      Fighting The Instrument

      Often the instruments of change
      are not kind or just
      and the hardest openness
      of all might be
      to embrace the change
      while not wasting your heart
      fighting the instrument.

      The storm is not as important
      as the path it opens.
      The mistreatment in one life
      never as crucial as the clearing
      it makes in your heart.

      This is very difficult to accept.
      The hammer or cruel one
      is always short-lived
      compared to the jewel
      in the center of the stone.

      by Mark Nepo

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