It is this great absence
that is like a presence, that compels
me to address it without hope
of a reply. It is a room I enter
from which someone has just
gone, the vestibule for the arrival
of one who has not yet come.
I modernise the anachronism
of my language, but he is no more here
than before. Genes and molecules
have no more power to call
him up than the incense of the Hebrews
at their altars. My equations fail
as my words do. What resources have I
other than the emptiness without him of my whole
being, a vacuum he may not abhor?
~R.S. Thomas “The Absence”
Advent is designed to show that
the meaning of Christmas is diminished to the vanishing point
if we are not willing to take a fearless inventory of the darkness.
~Fleming Rutledge from Advent- The Once & Future Coming of Jesus Christ
There is no light in the incarnation
without witnessing the empty darkness
that precedes His arrival;
His reason for entering our world
is to fill our increasing spiritual void,
our hollow hearts,
our growing deficit of hope and faith.
God abhors a vacuum.
We find our God most when
we keenly feel His absence,
hearing no reply to our prayers,
our faith shaken, not knowing if such
unanswered prayers are heard.
In response, He has answered.
He comes to walk beside us.
He comes to be present among us,
to ransom us from our self-captivity
by offering up Himself instead.
He fills the vacuum completely and forever.
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”
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