This article written by Heartbeet’s very own Jon Flint was published this week in the Camphill Association Blog!
The Advent Season at Heartbeet Lifesharing
This post was written by Jonathan Flint, a coworker since 2013 at Heartbeet Lifesharing. Jonathan served in our AmeriCorps program and is also involved in the Camphill Foundation as a Board Fellow. In Heartbeet his responsibilities include management of the grounds and estate, in addition to fundraising and working in forestry.
This year at Heartbeet Lifesharing, a Camphill community for adults founded in 2001 among the scenic hills of Hardwick, Vermont, we will turn our attention in Advent to the abundance of natural gifts (pasture for animals, soil for the garden, rocks and timber for dwellings, wells of clean drinking water) that we have taken over the stewardship of at Heartbeet. Our Land Group, composed of landscapers, farmers, gardeners and foresters, will share a series of community studies on the four elemental kingdoms of nature-spirits. We are learning about our responsibility to become co-creators with the spiritual world in reshaping the landscape at Heartbeet.
Advent in Camphill communities has a number of rich traditions. It is the season of the Shepherd’s Play! Coworkers and friends prepare for the Christmas plays that are attributed to the Germanic people surrounding the town of Oberufer. Town players passed down the stories, from generation to generation, the parts in three plays that depict the Nativity story, Creation, and the Three Kings. The “mystery plays” date back to the earliest dramatic works of medieval Europe, but were only written down and published in the mid-nineteenth century. The Heartbeet players will present the Shepherd’s Play this year for the ninety children at our local Waldorf school.
A group of coworkers read the Paradise Play this year, which tells the story of Adam and Eve and the fall of humanity from abundance and innocence. This reading occurs prior to the performance of the Shepherd’s Play. In the play, the birth of Christ offers the shepherds an opportunity to “shift” perspectives, from their anxiety of unmet needs and fear of not having enough, to appreciating the daily work each of them does and recognizing the abundance in each man that he can offer to this new baby. As one shepherd, Muckle, reminds the others in reflection on meeting the child:
On Earth is he born in this poor fashion
So that on us he have compassion
And make us rich in Heaven great
That like to angels shall be our state
Yea, poorly is he born this day
That so from pride men turn them away,
And choose not riches and glorification
But to live content in humble station.
What will I take away from this advent season? A deep sense of gratitude, for all the gifts of this past year, and particularly for the gift of being able to work on the land. I lead the endeavors of the estate crew. This year, we completed landscaping projects, recovered from flood damage and cleared new pasture, harvested apples and raspberries, built new structures, and created a beautiful safe play area for the youngest members of Heartbeet. Advent also means the promise of winter in Vermont, when snow covers the past years’ work in shades of white and grey, and hides any unfinished projects from sight and mind. My anxieties and accomplishments will be buried for now, and what remains is to try to live content, through the winter, in humble station.
To read more from the Camphill Association Blog click HERE!