Blessing the Door

By Jan Richardson

Blessing the Door © Jan L. Richardson

Welcome to Advent, almost! I have been eagerly looking forward to opening The Advent Door once again and journeying with you through the coming season. This is The Advent Door’s fifth year. When I first began this blog, I hardly imagined where it would take me—how it would change me as an artist and writer, how it would bring connections with folks around the world in cyberspace, how it would draw me ever deeper into the wonders and mysteries contained in the sacred stories of this season. Every year I learn, all over again, that when you open a door, you never quite know where it will lead.

Advent begins this Sunday. As we cross into this new season—which, in the liturgical calendar, begins a new year as well—I’m standing with my toes on the threshold, peeking through the doorway, wondering just what this season might hold in store. I’ll be keeping vigil in the studio and am curious to see what will emerge here after a season that has seemed fairly fallow, art-wise. Though this fallow time has had its frustrations, I know also that if Advent has taught me anything, it’s that waiting—a word that’s always attached to this season of anticipation—is much more active than we usually make it out to be. Even in fallow times, preparation is taking place deep underground in ways we can’t always perceive.

So today, we begin with a door, and with a blessing. As you stand on the edge of Advent, here at the door, what do you hope for the season ahead? How will you keep yourself—your eyes, your ears, your heart—open for the unimagined surprises the coming weeks will hold, and for the Christ who has been waiting for you?

Blessing the Door

First let us say
a blessing
upon all who have
entered here before

You can see the sign
of their passage
by the worn place
where their hand rested
on the doorframe
as they walked through,
the smooth sill
of the threshold
where they crossed.

Press your ear
to the door
for a moment before
you enter

and you will hear
their voices murmuring
words you cannot
quite make out
but know
are full of welcome.

On the other side
these ones who wait—
for you,
if you do not
know by now—
understand what
a blessing can do

how it appears like
nothing you expected

how it arrives as
outrageous invitation,

how it takes the form
of angel
or dream;

how it comes
in words like
How can this be?
lifted up the lowly;

how it sounds like
in the wilderness
prepare the way.

Those who wait
for you know
how the mark of
a true blessing
is that it will take you
where you did not
think to go.

Once through this door
there will be more:
more doors
more blessings
more who watch and
wait for you

but here
at this door of
the blessing cannot
be said without you.

So lay your palm
against the frame
that those before you

place your feet
where others paused
in this entryway.

Say the thing that
you most need
and the door will
open wide

and by this word
the door is blessed
and by this word
the blessing is begun
from which
door by door
all the rest
will come.

P.S. This blessing is from my new eBook, Through the Advent Door: Entering a Contemplative Christmas. Available now on Kindle! Preview & order here on Amazon: Through the Advent Door.

[To use the Blessing the Door image, please visit this page at Your use of helps make the ministry of The Advent Door possible. Thank you!]

3 Responses to “Blessing the Door”

  1. claire Says:

    How nice to know we’ll be able to find you here 🙂
    What a blessing in itself ♥

  2. karla Says:

    lovely! And I just ordered the e-book! Thank you for your ministry of art!

  3. Lynn Says:

    I’m in tears here. Someone else pointed me towards your website and it couldn’t resonate more if you lived inside my soul. Really. This is powerful stuff. (Off to get the kindle book, site bookmarked, and eager to make this advent journey alongside you.) Thanks be to God who knits together the most unusual threads :).

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