A CLOTHESLINE IS AN ODD IMAGE for Advent spirituality, but it dances before my eyes, reminding me of the pleasure I had as a child helping my grandmother hang out our clothes to dry in the back garden. How fresh they smelled when we took them down! Those who have to use dryers may never know what they are missing.
After Christmas, we will be reading from Colossians about the new styles of being human that the Incarnation attracts us to try out for ourselves. After stripping ourselves to put on the baptismal self, each layer of our new outfit is “pegged out” on the line for us to admire and try on. “As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience ... Above all clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony” (3:12, 14). This same passage goes on to invite us to take seriously that meditation on scripture is a foundational Christian practice, not an optional one. Each of us must find our way of internalizing scripture, celebrating and investigating it in the inner space and landscape of our unique selves. “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly” (3:16). Advent is a visitation to us of “words of Christ” that we need to invite in and entertain. Words of Christ as the coming Human One, our New Self, the indwelling Presence with which we are pregnant, the young Christ growing into God’s call.