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Thursday, Fourth Week of Advent

That life is a fragile shell on the beach I have thought before. This Christmas I am thinking big basic wonders as if I were just born.
—Naomi Shihab Nye

The Deep Peace of the Sea

I grew up going to the ocean with my family. The shelves and tabletops in my house hold more seashells and beach rocks than I care to dust, and  for some reason, new ones keep appearing every year. I introduced my children to the sky-blue pink wonders of the seashore so that they too could become one with the magic of the incoming and outgoing tides. Going to the beach for us is like going to church. The daunting journey includes descending a hundred steps to reach the sandy coast knowing full well that at the end of our hot summer day, the steps would test our commitment to our practice. Fortunately, the child in each of us knows that without the beach what would we do? Who would we be? The sparkle, the smells, the sounds of the ocean invite us to open ourselves to the awe of simply existing in the moment — one with the powers of the solar system, the universe, and each other.

Every ritual surrounds a story of wonderful beginnings and endings, of love and loss, of life and death, of transformation and rebirth. Christmas gives us the gift of wonder and the knowledge that life is frail and intricate and holy.

Deep Peace
Deep peace of the running wave to you
Deep peace of the flowing air to you
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you
Deep peace deep peace
Deep peace of the sleeping stones to you
Deep peace of the wandering wind to you
Deep peace of the flock of stars to you
Deep peace deep peace
Deep peace of the eastern wind to you
Deep peace of the western wind to you
Deep peace of the northern wind to you
Blue wind of the south to you
Pure red of the whirling flame to you
Pure white of the silver moon to you
Pure green of the emerald grass to you
Deep peace deep peace
Deep peace.

Merry Christmas!
—Britt Hysell,
Coordinator of the English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Program