Dawn on our Darkness: A Reckless Joy

After all the false dawns,
who is this who unerringly paints
the first rays in their true colours?
We have kept vigil with owls
when the occult noises of the night
fell tauntingly silent
and a breeze got up
as if for morning.
This time the trees tremble.
Is it with a kind of reckless joy
at the gentle light
lapping their leaves
like the very first turn of a tide?
Timid creatures creep out of burrows
sensing kindness
and the old crow on the cattle-shed roof
folds his wings and dreams.
~Richard Bauckham “First Light”

Who is this who dawns on my darkness,
changes everything in my life
and everything within my heart?

Who is this who paints the skies to speak to me from His creation?

Who is this who wraps me firmly within His grasp
and holds me tenderly when I am trembling afraid in the night?

There will be no more false dawns.
He brings the sun with Him
and I am here, a witness to the reckless joy of His Advent,
as I stand before His kindness and mercy.

This year’s Advent theme “Dawn on our Darkness” is taken from this 19th century Christmas hymn.

Brightest and best of the sons of the morning,
dawn on our darkness and lend us your aid.
Star of the east, the horizon adorning,
guide where our infant Redeemer is laid.
~Reginald Heber -from “Brightest and Best”

You have broken this old soil
You have torn this skin apart
And the seed that you have planted
Buries naked in the dark

In the springtime of my breathing
You have sheltered me from harm
All you asked was that my seedling
Play into your earthen yarn

If you trimmed off all my branches
They would not complete your pile
There is no way that I’m left standing
When you light that final fire

Even small fruit you have nourished
On these branches weighs them down
If I bear it, if I carry
It will sink me to the ground

With the sunset in the background
And this tree placed in the fore
I could just make out what you have
Planted all these years before

In the forests in the orchards
Broken trees cover the ground
When they’ve fallen, when they’re trampled
They have made a clapping sound

And they join with the mountains
And they join with the seas
And they join with the parts that are alive inside of me
And they cry out in longing for the earth that’s yet to be
And they find joy and peace
And they find joy and peace

If I’m bearing when you’re ready
If you come at the right time
Take the fruit that I have carried
Crush it down and make your wine
~Wendell Kimbrough

If I am alive this time next year
Will I have arrived in time to share?
And mine is about as good this far
And I’m still applied to what you are

And I am joining all my thoughts to you
And I’m preparing every part for you

And I heard from the trees a great parade
And I heard from the hills a band was made
And will I be invited to the sound?
And will I be a part of what you’ve made?

And I am throwing all my thoughts away
And I’m destroying every bet I’ve made
And I am joining all my thoughts to you
And I’m preparing every part for you
For you

~Sufjan Stevens


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