The Clearing

Advent Week 2: GROW

“Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you.” Isaiah 60:1

Take time this season of advent to consider the elements of this series built upon works presented by the CREATE collective in partnership with the Center. You will experience the creative expressions focused on four movements in the coming weeks: CONCEIVE|GROW|BIRTH|HOLD. You are invited to seek your own reflection and response as you wander through the gallery. Let each of us share in the hope and anticipation of what arises as we journey together in the Spirit…


Growth in dark empty places,
Growth unseen
Growth of Christ in Mary’s womb

Can you imagine the light of the world
being nurtured and growing within you?
Express what you notice.

Textile / Watercolor
Artist: Kathy Milans -Wilmore, Kentucky
It started as watercolor on fabric. Then I began playing with various stitches around the watercolor outlines. You can see that it is enclosed by the darker color of the dark night. –Kathy Milans

Grow: Learning From a Feral Cat
Acrylic on canvas
Artist: Tammie Breedlove
Ocala, Florida

Crayon on paper
Artist: Lindsey Sprague
Norcross, GA

– a nurturing of the light of the world growing within me:

By: Kathy Harvey Nelson
Hellam, PA

Pondering growth in dark places – a nurturing of the light of the world growing within me: Reaching down, deep within myself, I see it!

A light – sometimes wavering and dim, sometimes a bright warmth that feels comforting, and sometimes a flame so bright it hurts – scorching a new path, burning my eyes, moving through me to my very soul…

In the light I ponder many things that seem to rise up in response to the strength of the flame.

In dimness I feel anxiety and disquiet which creates a need, a desire sometimes to curl up within myself, to protect myself from … what? … I don’t even know – but sometimes to search, to seek, to move tentatively closer to the flickering, to look deep within it and to feed it with a part of myself – protecting and nurturing IT into a place of brightness and life.

In the space of warm comfort, I find myself wanting to linger – to feel the flame on my face, to drink in the beauty and promise of its light, to be energized by the welcome of its warmth.

In the midst of the scorching I tremble. For there is uncertainty, instability, an anxiousness that pushes me, but pushes me out, pushes me to a space where new growth appears within the dark places left by the fire, opening a way for light and new life to begin again.

As I sewed and continued to think about it [Grow], I see that although growth inside the circle is protected, it isn’t totally removed from the outside. The outside may be chaos, but it isn’t necessarily bad. All the colors of the new growth are also outside, vibrant and perhaps even beckoning.

–Gloria McPherson

Artist: Gloria McPherson
Central Pennsylvania

Alcohol Markers
Artist: Karen Weeks
Kalamazoo, MI

Pencil on Paper
Artist: Terrie Caisley
Westfield, NY

Growth Requires Simplicity

Artist: Kathy Milans
Wilmore, KY

Contemplating Growth Of A Mustard Seed
Artist: Angela Haar
Trinidad, CA

Mixed Media
Artist: Jackie Royster
Frankfort, KY

By: April Fearon
Caldwell, ID

“Dig it up!” he says.
“It’s not time,” I reply.
“Doing so could hurt it
When it’s barely had a try.”

“But do you think it’s growing?
How will we ever know?”
“Patience, love, and trust
Are what it needs to grow.

“I know the waiting’s hard.
It feels empty and unclear.
But controlling it will damage
One so tender and so dear.”

“Alright,” he whines reluctantly.
He plops down with a sigh.
We sit and wait together
Unsure where or when—or why.

The days turn into weeks
Months and even years
Resignation growing stronger
Hope turns into tears

And then a shoot breaks through.
“That’s it?!” he cries. “I’m done!”
“Oh, that’s just the beginning.
Now the waiting’s fun.”

Acrylic on Canvas
Artist: Laura Baber
Ocala, FL

Take time to consider…

  • What does your pathway of growth in the Spirit look like in this time of your life?  Are there new directions you want to explore or pursue in a new light?
  • As the Spirit’s light overcomes the darkness, what is being revealed to you through the light of the world in this season?
  • Where are you seeking the peace of the Spirit in your life?  In the quiet, you are invited to express a prayer of release to God.

By: Laura Baber

This is growth I cannot force.

This is growth in a tight, small, dark space. It feels cramped. It is unknown. I cannot control it.
It simply unfolds.

My ego is not running the show.

The force of life is unfolding in its own way. The way of life.

There is love at the root of this life force of growth.

This dark tight place is all I know right now. With that perspective, it is not so scary.

Because my ego is not in charge — not even formed yet in this embryonic state, the darkness feels safe. The pressuring space that is confining me is comforting. It is holding me in place when I am so vulnerable and fragile. I have all that I need. I don’t have to strain or toil to grow.

Growth just happens in this place. What a mystery is this growth! What a miracle! Oh that I could release and rest and let the darkness of love hold me as I grow towards the emergence of birth.