Tag Archive for: Reflection

Day 18. Permission to Spread Joy.

Julie Lary reflects on her understanding of Advent, transitioning from viewing it as simply a countdown calendar to seeing it as a season granting permission to spread joy.

Day 6. Wait Is a Four-Letter Word.

Zoanna expresses difficulty embracing Advent while waiting in everyday life. She suggests that amid such pauses, reflecting on words like “Wait, Hope, Love, Rest” is enough.

Day 4. Arrival.

Christopher Ball reflects on anticipation, endurance, and faith for Advent Day 3.

Day 3. A Sweet Treat for You.

The post explores the tradition and significance of Advent calendars that count down the days until Christmas. Originated by German Lutherans, these calendars have evolved to include devotional readings or small gifts. The author relives her childhood enthusiasm for Advent calendars through daily contemplative writings on the ‘Here & Now’ blog.

Day 2. A Season of Waiting.

Lorina Meade reflects on the importance of living in the present moment, particularly during Advent. She compares it to the Biblical manna, the daily sustenance provided by God, emphasizing the need to trust in God’s daily provisions while also anticipating the future. Meade encourages enjoying Christmas traditions and preparations as they happen, rather than rushing towards the main day, thereby capturing the essence of ‘nowness’.

No Big Secret.

Contemplative writer, Karen Nelson shares a big secret with her readers in “No Big Secret.” Shh…it’s a secret.

Lent Day 24. After Weeks of Snow, Ice, and Rain.

Inspired by Numbers 6:24-26, Sherry Roscoe offers this poem, “After Weeks of Snow, Rain. & Ice.” This is Day 24 of Lent.

Lent Day 20. Divine Embrace.

Beth Griffith was inspired to write today’s poem from a photo she took in the Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada. May you be inspired as well on this 20th day of Lent.

Climb Up to the Light

Today, Selah Companion Beth Griffith gifts us with one of her poems, “Climb Up to the Light” and illustrates it with her photography. Enjoy.

New Year’s

Revelation 21:1-6a

A Word of Intention

By Mary Pandiani
Executive Director
Selah Center

To start the new year, we read this scripture with anticipation and a promise. The “home of God is with His people” where God’s presence resides with us, no matter what the circumstances. We have the unending flow of God’s fountain, like the original baptismal waters that came from a river, always renewing, always originating from the source of life. 

In early church baptisms, a stream ran through the church so the waters were never stagnant. Similarly, as we start this new year we begin again, finding restoration in the living waters that come from the One who makes all things new. 

One way to be intentional about the new year is to explore what a “word” might be for the entire year. 

Rather than proclaiming a New Year’s resolution that may last for six weeks at the most, listen for the invitation by God for the choice of a word. Listening proves to be more life-giving and honest than assigning some goal or need for accomplishment. It’s a way to explore the intention to have for this beginning again. The discovery of the word becomes more about the integration of being and doing than just the doing. 

The process usually starts with dedicating some time to ask these questions: 

  1. What seems to be resonating with my soul right now? 
  2. What are ways I’ve seen God at work as the last year comes to a close and a new year begins? 
  3. What images/pictures come to mind and heart as I take time in quiet to be present to God? 

Sometimes it comes through scripture or a poem, or a conversation. Over time, usually a week or more, a pattern emerges that brings some confirmation. It cannot be forced. I wait for as long as I need to wait. One year the word didn’t appear until late March. If I’m honest, there are years where the word sticks and other years where it was helpful but not necessarily profound. If I keep the word prominent in some form, whether in a journal or an artistic expression, I use it as a lens to see the year—a way to stay awake to the ways God is present. 

While there’s no formula for the process, it begins with the question:

What is the longing God is revealing to me for this year? 

As we say in Selah, if all we can bring is desire, that is enough. Perhaps your “word” begins with expressing the desire to have an intention given by God. Remain open and receptive to what may unfold for you.

With whatever word you have for this new year, may you discover the ways God is with you as you continue to come alive and awake to the journey God has set before you.

Advent Day 25

Blue Christmas

By Mary Pandiani
Executive Director
Selah Center

…Learning to trust what emerges,
So that gradually
You may come to know
That deep in that black hole
You will find the blue flower
That holds the mystical light
Which will illuminate in you….


John O’Donohue
A Blessing for Loneliness

About thirty years ago, a new tradition began at Christmas time. In the Western Hemisphere, the night of the Winter Solstice, Blue Christmas becomes a time to honor the sadness that accompanies the season. On this day, we acknowledge those who no longer celebrate the Christmas season with us in person. Entering into a ritual of quietness, we light candles in remembrance. It’s a time to grieve amid celebration for the season.

This year, Blue Christmas touches close to my heart. Several deaths in the last few months have impacted me, most significantly a dear friend of thirty-two years and my mother-in-law of my late husband. I celebrate this Christmas without them, and it’s not easy to do so. While I can still enter the joy of the season, my heart is heavy with grief upon grief. This realization holds my attention nearly every day. Tears well up from deep inside.

I use the word “honor” in sadness purposefully. Sadness does not take away the joy from the season. Just as Mary and Joseph experienced joy and sorrow on their journey, from hearing from the angels, trying to find a place to stay for the night, and giving birth to baby Jesus. Holding both is a paradox. And I am reminded there is sadness and joy in the life story. I want to make a note of this reality and honor it.

The poem by John O’Donohue, A Blessing for Loneliness, invites me into what the darkness of grief and sadness offers. Ending with the “blue flower” in this blessing, he captures my imagination with mystical allure. In Romantic poetry, the blue flower symbolizes the artistic and emotional striving for the infinite. Connecting to Blue Christmas, I remember my longing for the infinite, even amid my sadness. Can I trust that what emerges, whether in the grief or the joy of the season, will be a gift from God? I find solace in knowing the pain I feel is equal to my love for those I miss. And could it be, from the darkness, I might know light?

This is the hope of the season and our lives; a light has been brought into the world. I celebrate the light while honoring the darkness. My prayer on the longest night of the year is to continue to learn what it means to trust God in whatever happens, whether sadness or joy.

Advent Day 24

Surprise Party

By Sandy Shipman
Selah Companion

I understand the waiting of Advent, the wanting, the waning hope. Aching for justice, mercy, and love while experiencing division, judgment, and hate. We pray, “Thy Kingdom come,” like the Jews of Mary’s time praying for the Messiah. We pray and wait for the powerful and mighty to save us. Who would have thought that God would deliver the Messiah not from the mountaintop but from inside a human? That was unexpected.

Now, we have this annual practice of the whole church waiting expectantly for Jesus to come from inside Mary during the Advent season. Candles and choirs and scripture readings. But back then, most people didn’t know the Messiah was coming so soon. They had work and oppression and Laws on their mind. They had hope for the Messiah in the same way we do. Perhaps thy kingdom come, someday, later, in the future. But today, we have work to do, battles to fight, and morality to uphold and defend.

Mary was another teenager who got pregnant before marriage. I imagine she was shunned and judged and deemed less than. Few suspected the Spirit had entered her, that Jesus was alive within her. How might the conversations, the interactions have changed if the neighbors had known that God was so near?

I recently created art with a teenage girl, an amazing artist. She was kind, inquisitive, protective, and she made me laugh. She was also a six-year veteran of the juvenile justice system. And pregnant. I imagine she is shunned, judged, and deemed less than. I can hear the neighbors discussing virtue and choices and patterns of behavior. What if we knew the Holy Spirit was living inside her? What if we believed Jesus was alive within her? Would our conversations and interactions change with God so near?

Would we travel great distances and bring the child gifts? Do we?

What if, in all our conversations and interactions, we behaved as if we believed God was alive in each of us? What if we kept the Law and loved one another?

Anyway. I understand the waiting. The wanting. The waning hope.

Let’s surprise everyone with God’s Love delivered once more from inside a human. You. Me. Thy Kingdom Come.