If you have not yet realized that the Christmas story is a story of liberation from oppression, it is time to realize that. I like to dust off the patriarchy and mysogyny of scriptural writers to find the beautiful wisdom within the stories. Here is my daily devotional for the first week of Advent, the week of Hope. May our ever-birthing Goddess guide you to recognize and birth Hope, with all Creation. As the sky turns dark, may our candles shine ever brighter, together.
Feminist Advent Devotional, Day 1:
Isaiah 2:1-5, revised
The word that Isaiah, daughter of Amoz, saw concerning the kindred of faithful seekers.
In days to come the mountain of Peace shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be raised above the hills; all Creation shall stream to it.
Many peoples shall come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of Peace, to the house of Love and Justice; that we may learn her Wisdom and that we may walk in her paths.” For out of Gaia shall go forth instruction, and the Wisdom of the Eternal Womb from the Earth Mother.
She shall guide all Creation, and shall reconcile all the Earth; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.
O kindred of faithful seekers, come, let us walk in the light of Hope!
Feminist Advent Devotional, day 2
Psalm 122, revised
Song of Praise and Prayer for Gaia
A Song of Ascents.
I was glad when they said to me,
“Let us go to the Sacred Grove of the Eternal Womb!”
Our feet are standing
within your gates, O Holy Sanctuary.
Blessed Gaia—born as a vessel of Life and Love
where all are woven in kinship together.
To the Sacred Groves, the kindred go up,
the plants and animals, the elements and spirits,
all the inhabitants of Gaia,
to give thanks to the Womb of Eternal Life.
For there the highest and deepest Wisdom is found
the Wisdom of the ancestors and of new birth.
Pray for the peace of Gaia:
“May Love bring the kindred abundant blessings.
Peace be within your dwellings,
and justice within your communities.”
For the sake of my kindred
I will say, “Peace be within you.”
For the sake of the Sacred Groves of Gaia,
I will seek the Good of all.
Feminist Advent Devotion, Day 3:
Romans 13:11-14, revised
You know what time it is, how it is now the moment for you to wake from sleep. For liberation is nearer to us now than when we first turned toward Wisdom; the night is far gone, the day is near. Let us then lay aside the works of deceit and put on the armor of truth; let us live honorably as in the day, not in desecrating our bodies with foods or drinks that sicken, not in life-draining sexuality that dishonors ourselves and others, not in quarreling and jealousy. Instead, put on the Wisdom of Gaia, of the intimate kinship of all Creation, our holy union with all the Earth, and release our fearful grasp on selfish gratification; embrace our earthly kindred, and let our hope rest in the Womb of all Life and Love.
Feminist Advent Devotional, Day 4:
Matthew 24:36-44, revised
Jesus said to the disciples, “But about the Way each person and community will find their enlightenment, no one knows, neither the angels of heaven and Earth, nor the Daughter, but only the Mother Goddess. For as the days of Grandmother Noah were, so is the coming of the Daughter of Woman. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Grandmother Noah entered the ark, and they knew nothing until the flood came and swept the world they had known all away, so too is the coming of the Daughter of Woman and her Embodied Wisdom. Then two will be in the field; one will find her liberation, and one will be left imprisoned by her wounds and fear. Two women will be grinding meal together; one will find the kin-dom of Gaia, and one will remain unable to perceive the Divine. Keep awake therefore, for you do not know in what manner your Illumination is coming. But understand this: if the owner of the house had known in what part of the night the storm was coming, she would have stayed awake and would not have let her house be unprepared. Therefore you also must be ready, for the Daughter of Woman reveals her Way of liberation at an unexpected hour.”
Feminist Advent Devotional, Day 5
O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
O come, O come, Emmanuel,
To all who in oppression dwell,
Who mourn in wounded exile here
Until thy liberation appear.
Emmanuel is born in thee, O sing Noel!
O come, Thou Wisdom from within,
Uniting all the Earth as kin.
To us the path of knowledge show,
And teach us in her ways to go.
O come, Eternal Promise, free
Creation from all tyranny;
From deep despair all kindred save,
Lift up our heads that we may be brave.
O come, Thou Day-spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here;
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
And death’s dark shadows fill with Light.
O come, Thou Gate of Union, come,
Fling open wide the doors to our home;
Reveal the Way to harmony,
‘Til all the Earth united be.
O come, O come, great Womb of Life,
Who ever heals all brokenness and strife
Our ancestors thy stories told
In sacred wisdom myths of old.
O come, Thou Voice of Wind and Tree,
A Guide to all Creation be;
Before Thee all pretensions fall;
All kindred on thy justice call.
O come, Desire of Gaia, bind
With Love the hearts of every kind;
Help Thou our sad divisions cease,
And birth in us a kin-dom of Peace.
(Originally translated by John M. Neale (1851) and revised by Trelawney J. Grenfell-Muir; includes some revisions by Tallessyn Z. Grenfell-Lee.)
Feminist Advent Devotional, Day 6:
O Blessed Mary, Thou mighty symbol of the creative birthing power of Goddess, the YHWH Eternal Womb of All Becoming, Source and Form and Breath, Sacred Vagina of Divine Flesh-Spirit Union, Liberating Wisdom from Within, Holy Healer and Peacebuilder, Guide and Protector, grant us thy Strength.
Grant us thy Strength, O Divine Prophet and Guide.
Grant us thy Strength, O Midwife of Revolution.
Grant us thy Strength.
Feminist Advent Devotional, Day 7
What hope is not:
Hope is not naïveté. Hope is not turning away from injustice, looking away from oppression, pretending tragedy does not exist, minimizing pain or grief.
What hope is:
Hope is choosing Life and Good and Love, over and over and over, even (especially?) when things look bleak, when despair beckons. Hope is joining hands with every possible source of Life-Good-Love, whether human or otherkind, so that a web of kinship holds and lifts everyone who is in danger of falling. Hope is joining one’s life force with the Womb of All Becoming, aligning oneself with birth and rebirth, finding and nurturing candles and seeds and songs anywhere and everywhere. Hope is courage.
May Advent Hope bless you always, beloved friends.
Trelawney Grenfell-Muir teaches courses about Sex, Dating, Marriage, and Work in the Religion and Theological Studies Department at Merrimack College and about Cross Cultural Conflict in the Department of Conflict Resolution, Human Security, and Global Governance at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. A Senior Discussant at the Religion and the Practices of Peace Initiative at Harvard University, she holds an M.Div. from the Boston University School of Theology with a concentration in Religion and Conflict, and a Ph.D. in Conflict Studies and Religion with the University Professors Program at Boston University. She currently writes articles, book chapters, and liturgical resources about feminist, nature-based Christianity.