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Advent retreat

Advent retreat

I am on an Advent retreat, but as usual, I am not sure I’m doing it right. I am at once restless and tired: I want to stride through the woods and sleep. It would not be a good combination, lying down in the snow beside the cold, scurrying river that turns away.

In the meantime, I am here to pray. I do my best, banging out hymns in the worship barn, empty except for the echoes of the piano, cold air conspiring with my unpractised fingers to bending its notes toward some kind of sympathetic symphony, if not exactly harmony.

I read the religion of others, trying to hang my heart from their words.

I am restless and weary, anxious for the day of redemption, fretting over the day of judgement, weary of waiting for deliverance, afraid to waste the fleeting days that melt beneath my feet.

I am on an Advent retreat, restless and exhausted, looking for room at last at the stable of mercy. Perhaps that is only as it should be, as we sidle slowly toward Bethlehem.

Rosalind C Hughes is Rector of the Church of the Epiphany in Euclid, Ohio, and grateful guest at Bellwether Farm, the Diocese of Ohio’s Camp and Retreat Center. She blogs at and her book, A Family Like Mine: Biblical Stories of Love, Loss, and Longing, was recently released by Upper Room Books.


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