Okay, folks, here’s what’s going on: At the end of this month/ beginning of January, I’ll have my annual favorite books of the year post. (Who else is excited?? It’s always my favorite post of the year.) In the new year, I’ll have my third Enneagram post and possibly a series of haiku collections, which should be fun. Until then, I’ll be posting weekly-ish Advent-related things.
There’s something about Advent that never fails to stimulate my creativity. Each year I am awed anew at how this epic, fantastic-sounding story from two thousand years ago impacts my own life so directly—and of course, I have to process it through words. Sometimes I feel like all of my Advent poems are just repeating themselves, but really, this story is so wonderful that I could talk about it nonstop for the rest of my life and still find new things to say about it. Because this story is true.
I know often Advent often brings with it expectations of having to feel a certain way about it, and I know Christmas can be the most stressful, loneliest, aching time of the year. But I hope that God will bring to each of your hearts at least a tiny hint of the wonder and glory of the Christmas story, in whatever way He knows you need it. And maybe my words can be part of how He does that. Happy Advent, everyone. ❤
Note about this poem: The 400 years of “silence” between the Old and New Testaments, when God ceased speaking to his people through prophets, have always fascinated and moved me. I can’t imagine what it would be like, to have these incredible promises from God that a savior is going to come to free and redeem your people—and then not only does this savior not show up, God just stops talking. No new revelation for four centuries. The past two years have taught me a little bit about waiting. I think, in order to fully appreciate the joy of Christmas, we have to remember the years upon years of ache that came before. Maybe our excitement about Christmas always feels forced because it is—because we haven’t truly faced all our grief and disappointment and all the ways we feel God has not shown up. You can’t get to the day without enduring the night—and sometimes the night lasts a long time.
I stand beneath the stars. I no longer try
To count them, because what counts
Is not their number but the voice
That sings their names. And that voice
Is like the starlight, traveling
From a place so distant it takes centuries
To reach these ears. The stars
Are silent. And it has been
Four hundred years. How long
Must I stand here? The shards above are
Splintered like your promises, frozen
Like my hope. I cannot believe
That they used to be flame.
Will the Lord cast off forever?
And will He be favorable no more?
Has His mercy ceased forever?
Has His promise failed forevermore?
Has God forgotten to be gracious?
Has He in anger shut up His tender mercies?
Your way was in the sea,
Your path in the great waters,
And Your footsteps were not known.
You led Your people like a flock
By the hand of Moses and Aaron.
~ Psalm 77:7-9, 19-20