The Clearing

Advent Week 4: HOLD

“Let all that you do be done in love.” 1 Corinthians 16:14

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.  This final week, you will experience the creative expressions focused on four movements culminating in HOLD.


You are invited to seek your own reflection and response as you wander through this organic gallery.
Let each of us share in the love that binds in anticipation of what arises in the Spirit…

Luke 2:8-12  From The Message
There were shepherds camping in the neighborhood. They had set night watches over their sheep. Suddenly, God’s angel stood among them and God’s glory blazed around them. They were terrified. The angel said, “Don’t be afraid. I’m here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide: A Savior has just been born in David’s town, a Savior who is Messiah and Master. This is what you’re to look for: a baby wrapped in a blanket and lying in a manger.”

Pause for a moment to enter into a stillness.
Take a few breaths.  
Welcome the Spirit’s leading.
When you hear the word “Hold,” what rises in your consciousness?
What happens when you consider the word “Held?”

Can you imagine:
The Christ child being held as a baby?  
Yourself now being held?
All of Creation also held?

Can you express what you notice.

Cloth / Textile
Artist: Gloria McPherson
New Bloomfield, PA

“When I first thought of this, I went to the Madonna and Child, which is what I see with the light/Madonna blue garments and the child being held. The purple in the child’s covering signifies power/royalty to me, and there is actually some light purple in the mother’s garments as well, although it doesn’t come through all that well in the photo. From the beginning, however, I also saw Moses being rescued and held by Pharaoh’s daughter. The darker blue fabrics are incorporated into the garments of this woman. The fabrics indicating the faces are meant to be an ambiguous color.  The yellow may be the sun, or a halo, or a symbol of the spirit watching over all.”  – Gloria McPherson

By Kathy Milans

Mary, as you held Jesus
Noticed every single finger and toe,
What did you hold in your heart?

Your world was so uncertain
Domination, poverty, not likely very hopeful
Ridicule, mocking, shame.

Your eyes gazed at the King of the World
What would become of his life?
Would He crush the darkness
Or might He be crushed?

Lord, swaddle Mary in this moment
Hold her tension of peace mixed with uncertainty
Ground her in this precious moment
Where she is also held.

Please hold me too.

By: Kathy Milans
Wilmore, KY

By: Angela Haar
Trinidad, CA

I felt like naming that manger vulnerability. And then put things inside of it – trust, comfort,etc., a holy space where humility and Light meet.

By: April Fearon
Boise, Idaho

Gently swaying
Arms and boat move

On the ocean large
Or in your arms
I find myself
Relaxed and soothed

Waves crash
Fears pummel
But the gentle motion stays

Encased securely
Held gently
I sleep peacefully as we sway

Author’s note: “As I felt myself being held, I felt like I was being rocked gently by a boat. And I was held secure even in the midst of the crashing waves–held in my Savior’s arms.” – April Fearon

By Maria Baber
Cartersville, VA

An icon of
Jesus in the womb of Mary
Morphs into an icon of
Mary in the womb of Anna
Morphs into the beginning
The logos
the cosmos swirling into being……
Jesus in the arms of Mary… held
Mary in the arms of Anna… held…
Seen with admiring eyes and heart…..
The cosmos, you, me, bugs, stars and trees
Swirl in space

Watercolor on Paper
By: Elise Hurst
Lubbock, TX

Acrylic on canvas
By Tammie Breedlove
Ocala, FL

Acrylic and Sparkles on Canvas
Artist: Laura Baber
Ocala, FL

Take time to consider…

  • How are you experiencing the presence of God as love in your life?
  • Is there something you want to ask God to hold for you that may bring new life for you?  Express as a prayer as you invite God to come closer.
  • What is God revealing to you in this season of anticipation and expectancy?  What do you carry forward with you as you look back?  What do you release as God carries you forward?