Happy New Year—Always We Begin Again

We are less than 24 hours into Advent, and I am officially in love with our new wreath. Designed by our novice, Jen, and assisted by one of our maintenance men in its construction, the wreath is a spiral that winds its way up to Christmas, a holiday with symbolism we so desperately seek this year.

Since Advent starts the new liturgical year, can we just say that it’s 2021 now?! Please?!

What is so beautiful about the Advent wreath is not only the structure, but also its symbolism. When we walked into chapel for our first vigil last night, there was a paper with an explanation of the wreath for us to read. (Kudos to whomever wrote this…I don’t know where to give credit.)
Symbols surround us. This Advent season, the Advent wreath is one that invites us to remember that we are one (the circle) and that each candle invites us to focus on a specific attribute: Hope, Love, Joy, and Peace.

We have inserted the spiral into the center of the wreath to call to mind one of the most ancient symbols in nature, science, and the spiritual journey.

In many ancient cultures the spiral depicts the path that leads the soul to evolve and move toward knowledge of the path of enlightenment. It is also a feminine symbol which is linked to the generative force of the universe and the mystery of birth.

Even science has confirmed that the universe moves in spirals. If you look, spirals are everywhere: from shells to the movement of electrons, from fingerprints to the shape of hurricanes.

The Advent wreath invites you to move around it as it has a different perspective from every point of view. May your Advent journey invite you to do the same.
Great…right? Here are a few more angles that I photographed as the light poured in this morning. Again, this is the best time of year for standing in awe at our stained-glass windows in chapel.

And, of course, what would a new year be without a new baking endeavor. Inspired by the finale of the Great British Baking Show, I decided to try making something I haven’t tried before…puff pastry…in the form of pain au chocolat. You have to make dough, and then laminate it with butter by folding and resting the dough three times, creating 81 flaky layers through the gift of exponential growth. I began the process on Friday evening, and they came out of the oven this morning. Yes, they were delicious.
(Yes, that is a slab of butter.)


May your Advent be full of renewed hope, love, joy, and peace.
Let us walk in the holy presence.