The Beginning Shall Remind Us of the End: The Growing Grey

Autumn
Was certainly not winter, scholars say,
When holy habitation broke the chill
Of hearth-felt separation, icy still,
The love of life in man that Christmas day.
Was autumn, rather, if seasons speak true;
When green retreats from sight’s still ling’ring gaze,
And creeping cold numbs sense in sundry ways,
While settling silence speaks of solitude.
Hope happens when conditions are as these; 
Comes finally lock-armed with death and sin,
When deep’ning dark demands its full display.
Then fallen nature driven to her knees
Flames russet, auburn, orange fierce from within,
And brush burns brighter for the growing grey.
~David Baird “Autumn”

We have become so accustomed to the idea of divine love and of God’s coming at Christmas that we no longer feel the shiver of fear that God’s coming should arouse in us. We are indifferent to the message, taking only the pleasant and agreeable out of it and forgetting the serious aspect, that the God of the world draws near to the people of our little earth and lays claim to us. The coming of God is truly not only glad tidings, but first of all frightening news for everyone who has a conscience.
~Dietrich Bonhoeffer from Watch for the Light

The shepherds were sore afraid.   So why aren’t we?

The scholars say Christ was most likely born in the autumn of the year ~ so fitting, as our reds and oranges fade fast to grey as we descend into this wintering world crying out for resuscitation. 

Murderous frosts and falling snow have wilted down all that was flush with life and we become desperate for hope for renewal in the midst of the dying.

And so this babe has come like a refiner’s fire to lay claim to us and we who have gotten too comfortable will feel the heat of His embrace – in the middle of the chill, in the middle of our dying – no matter what time of year.

Hope happens when conditions are as these…

This year’s Barnstorming Advent theme “… the Beginning shall remind us of the End” is taken from the final lines in T.S. Eliot’s poem “The Cultivation of Christmas Trees”

1. Father, enthroned on high—―Holy, holy!
Ancient eternal Light—hear our prayer.

REFRAIN
Come, O Redeemer, come;
grant us mercy.
Come, O Redeemer, come;
grant us peace.

2. Lord, save us from the dark of our striving,
faithless, troubled hearts weighed down. REFRAIN

3. Look now upon our need; Lord, be with us.
Heal us and make us free from our sin. REFRAIN

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2 thoughts on “The Beginning Shall Remind Us of the End: The Growing Grey

  1. Once again, I have had to read and re-read today’s post to absorb its full impact.It is ‘meaty’ with valuable insights about the ‘Christmas’ ‘Event’ that we have come to celebrate – from childhood to adulthood – as well as the mis-interpretation of this Blessed Event that has crept in over the millennia. (Giving presents, decorated trees, wreaths,,stockings with hidden goodies for the children, mistletoe, ‘shop ’til you drop’ materialism, et al. Bonhoeffer’s final statement here that, “The coming of God is truly not only glad tidings but, first of all, frightening news for everyone who has a conscience.” This, then, alters our interpretation and celebration of Christmas from what Scripture tells us was the reason for the Incarnation of God in the person of the infant, Jesus, God’s only Son. (God the Father’s loving ”GIFT” to us.).

    And, dear Emily, you add a pointed ‘clincher’ to what Bonhoeffer tells us, that…”This babe has come like a refiner’s fire to us…we who have become too comfortable will feel the heat of His embrace.”
    What a much-needed timely reminder 2000 years later of the ‘true’ reason for the Incarnation followed by Jesus’ magnificent teachings in His brief time on Earth with us, These and His Crucifiction being His
    Loving GIFTS to us!

    Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

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