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 and songs. Here is my daily devotional for the third week of Advent, the week of Joy. May our ever-birthing Goddess guide you to recognize and birth Joy, with all Creation. As the sky turns dark, may our candles shine ever brighter, together.
Feminist Advent Devotional, Day 15:
Isaiah 35 (NRSV, revised)
The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad,
the desert shall rejoice and blossom;
like the crocus it shall blossom abundantly,
and rejoice with joy and singing.
The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it,
the majesty of Carmel and Sharon.
They shall see the glory of the Womb,
the majesty of Gaia.
Strengthen the weak hands,
and make firm the feeble knees.
Say to those who are of a fearful heart,
‘Be strong, do not fear!
Here are your kindred.
We will come with compassion,
with holy power.
We will all heal and lift each other.’
Then the wounds of the sufferers shall be healed,
and the griefs of the broken-hearted be comforted
then the fainting ones shall leap like deer,
and the tongues of the mourners sing for joy.
For waters of new birth shall break forth in the wilderness,
and streams in the desert;
the burning sand shall become a pool,
and the thirsty ground springs of water;
the haunt of jackals shall become a swamp,
the grass shall become reeds and rushes.
A highway shall be there,
and it shall be called the Holy Way;
the greedy shall not travel on it,
but it shall be for the kindred of Gaia;
no traveller, not even infants, shall go astray.
No robber shall be there,
nor shall any ravenous ruler come up on it;
they shall not be found there,
but the kindred shall walk there.
And the kin-dom of Gaia shall return,
and come to each other with singing;
everlasting joy shall be upon their heads;
they shall obtain joy and gladness,
and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.
Feminist Advent Devotional, Day 16:
John 3 (NRSV, revised)
For Goddess so loves the world that She speaks through her daughters and sons, her animals, plants, rocks, and waters, that whoever can hear her voices of Wisdom shall find hope and healing in times of suffering, and shall find Joy in your oneness as part of the eternal life of Creation. For Goddess does not speak her Wisdom Voices into the world to condemn the world, but to liberate and heal the world through them.
Whenever you open your heart to her Wisdom, you will find freedom and peace. But whenever you close your heart to Love, you cut yourself off from the Source of Life and Truth— because you did not understand who you truly are: divine beings, eternally woven together in the Womb of Creation.
Feminist Advent Devotional, Day 17:
Psalm 146 (NRSV, revised)
Praise the Source!
Praise the Womb, O my soul!
I will praise the Tree of Life as long as I live;
I will sing praises to my Guide all my life long.
Do not put your trust in queens,
in mortals, in whom there is no help.
When their breath departs, they return to the earth;
on that very day their plans perish.
Happy are those whose help is the Goddess of Leah, Rachel, Hagar, and all the ancestors,
whose hope is in the Womb, their Goddess,
who birthed heaven and earth,
the sea, and all that is in them;
who unites the kindred for ever;
who births justice for the oppressed;
who gives food to the hungry.
Love sets the prisoners free;
Love opens the eyes of the unenlightened.
Love lifts up those who are bowed down;
Love births righteousness.
Love makes kindred of strangers;
She upholds the orphan and the grief stricken,
but the way of wickedness She gives to the compost heap, to be decayed and reborn as fertile soil.
Love will reign for ever,
your Guide, O Gaia, for all generations.
Praise the Source!
Feminist Advent devotional, Day 18:
James 5: 7-11 (NRSV, revised)
Be patient, therefore, beloved, during this birthing of JustPeace. The farmer waits for her precious crop from the Earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. You also must be patient. Strengthen your hearts, for Holy Wisdom is being born all around you. Beloved, do not grumble against one another, so that you may not be divided. See, the Healer is birthing among you!
As an example of suffering and patience, beloved, take the prophets who spoke in the name of Love. Indeed, we call blessed all those who endure these labor pains to help birth Divine Wisdom among the kindred of Gaia.
Feminist Advent Devotional, Day 19
Matthew 11:2-15 (NRSV, revised)
When Joanna the Midwife heard in prison what the Anointed One was doing, she sent word by her disciples and said to Jesus, “Are you the Anointed One who is to come, or are we to wait for another?” Jesus answered them, “Go and tell Joanna what you hear and see: the unenlightened are filled with Wisdom, the wounded are healed, the outcasts are brought in, the stubborn open their hearts, life is proven stronger than death, and the poor have good news of their liberation brought to them. And everyone who welcomes my teachings of the kin-dom of JustPeace is blessed.”
Jesus Praises Joanna the Midwife
As they went away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about Joanna: “What did you go out into the wilderness to look at? A reed shaken by the wind? What then did you go out to see? Someone dressed in soft robes? Look, those who wear soft robes are in royal palaces. What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is the one about whom it is written,
‘See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you
who will prepare your way before you.’
Truly I tell you, among those born of women no one has arisen greater than Joanna the Midwife; yet she is no greater than the least among the kindred of Gaia, for all are One in the kin-dom. From the days of Joanna the Midwife until now the kin-dom of Gaia has suffered violence, and the violent try to destroy it by force and division. For all the prophets and the law prophesied until Joanna came; and if you are willing to accept it, she is Elijah, who is to help birth the kinship of all Gaia. Let anyone with ears listen!”
Feminist Advent Devotional, Day 20
A breath indrawn
Life is waiting
To be born
In candles of Hope, Peace, Joy,
A story of birth
A star above
Feminist Advent Devotional, Day 21
What Joy is not:
Joy is not jollity, lighthearted frivolous fun, merry ho ho ho superficial cheer.
What joy is:
Joy is recognizing, deep inside you, the flame of Divinity that the storms of the world can never touch. Joy is the deep green awareness of the power of Life-Love in yourself and all Creation, working its magic of healing, birth, rebirth, and redemption. Joy is the steady pulse of a song thrumming wildly in the frozen empty land, where all looks dead, yet Life teems with sleeping potential. Trusting Darkness and even Death itself to be a Divine and Beautiful Vagina, a Birth Canal to Radiant Glory.
Joy is freedom.
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.