All Creation Waits: Book Review

“Every single creature is full of God. …
Every creature is a word of God.”
Meister Eckhart

For those who love Prayers from the Ark; for those who connect deeply to God through the delight and observation of nature; for those lamenting the commercialization of Christmas that drowns the quiet stirrings to Advent; for those wondering how to teach the children in their lives (or how to practice themselves) the patience of waiting; for those seeking a spiritual supplement to the daily-piece-of-chocolate Advent calendar: you’ll absolutely want to check out All Creation Waits: The Advent Mystery of New Beginnings (written by Gayle Boss, illustrated by David G. Klein).

A gorgeous book of engraving prints and gleaned wisdom from North American wildlife, All Creation Waits pays attention to creatures’ instinctive & radical practices for waiting through winter. The muskrat maintains a shelter in the middle of its pond where it can rest from the work of scouring the frigid waters for vegetation. The honey bees shiver together inside their hive, and their trembling muscles generate heat for survival. The red fox chases shadows across snow, studying the long shadows of its prey as cast by the low sun’s light in order to successfully hunt.

For every day of Advent, another animal: the lake trout, the raccoon, the turkey, the garter snake. Gayle Boss’s study of each animal is refreshingly free from overt theological proverbs or “Jesus is the Reason” lessons. (After all, Jesus doesn’t arrive until Christmas.) There is no pretense that waiting is easy as All Creation Waits immerses the reader in each animal’s winter habits: the stark choices that must be made for the sake of survival, the reality of hovering near death until life returns with the warmth of spring, the drastic shift in nourishment options that require each creature to make do with less.

What is it we need to survive in seasons when life’s harvest fades and hope dims?

What choices do we make when the spirit’s nourishment is sparse and the frigid storms of evil pound against us?

When death draws close, do we lose all wonder and capitulate to fear?

What does it take for us to hold on fiercely to joy and imagination through stark days?

These days may feel like an end, a fading of sunlight into a long season of scarcity and injustice, but even in the deepest night of winter, God’s work is just beginning. All of creation waits with trust in the return of Life and the restoration of Peace. All Creation Waits offers the exquisite Advent reminder that we can wait too.

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