Monday, December 7, 2009

Power of Hands and Advent

      It is Advent and just under three weeks until Christmas. So much to do and I find myself staring at my hands. I remember plunging my cupped hands into the white beach sand, lifting the cradle and watching the sand sift back to the beach. I remember the ladle they formed offering my over heated body a cool drink. I remember my hand waving good bye to my mother on my first day at school and years later the last time I saw her alive. I remember how heavy it felt both times when it dropped to my side. I remember their excited clutch when the diploma was placed in my hand after years of night school. I remember waving them high in the air when I completed my first marathon. I remember their warmth clasping my mug of coffee long before the caffeine is desired.
      It is not the meaning of Christmas I ponder. I’ve become fascinated with my hands. What is the power of hands that when cupped together they can cradle life or reach into the ocean and draw a drink? What is their power that carves your mark upon the world when they grasp a pen? The power of hands can hold a brush and palette and with a single stroke freeze heaven’s creative fire for all eternity. What is the power of hands? Outstretched the hand can draw a drowning person to safety, establish a bond of friendship or dry a tear. Clenched the hand can bruise, maim or even destroy a life. The hands say hello, are the voice for some and with an imperceptible glancing touch say “I love you.” Hands give belly rubs to dogs, change a baby’s diaper, hold the key that opens a door as well as praise and plead with God.
      If I were an artist I would paint two softly roughened, aged but strong hands cupped together, as if they were holding a ball, extending down from heaven to earth piercing through the dark night sky. Between the two hands there would be a soft circle of light radiating like the harvest moon. It would be my picture of Advent, the period of waiting for Christmas when the hands of God became like mine.