Dawn on our Darkness: I See You, I Am Here

Once I saw a fire
across the water
reaching high into the night.
So I lit my fire.
My fire was small
but it was enough to signal to the other,
I see you, and I am here.

Now, whenever I light fires, I wonder who’s watching –
the trees, the grass, the flowers, the fireflies, the moths, the birds,
the ocean, the clouds, the moon, the stars,
the very ground I rest upon?
Testing for echo, I send my calls of light into darkness.
Even when all I receive is the gift of silence,

I am comforted because
I see and I am here.

~John Paul Caponigro “Test for Echo”

“I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!”
Luke 12:49

Unless the eye catch fire,
Then God will not be seen.
Unless the ear catch fire
Then God will not be heard.
Unless the tongue catch fire
Then God will not be named.
Unless the heart catch fire,
Then God will not be loved.
Unless the mind catch fire,
Then God will not be known.
~William Blake from “Pentecost”

Earth’s crammed with heaven,
and every common bush afire with God
~Elizabeth Barrett Browning from “Aurora Leigh”

I need to turn aside and look,
to truly see, as if for the first and last time,
this kindled fire that echoes from the hills,
illuminating even the darkest day and never dies away.

I am invited, by no less than God Himself,
through the burning bush never consumed,
to shed my shoes, walk barefoot and vulnerable,
to approach this bright and burning dawn,
even in the midst of darkest midnight,
as a babe in a manger is sent
to kindle a fire in each of us.

Then can I say, sending out my own echoed light:
“I see you! I am here! Consume me!”

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”

Within our darkest night,
you kindle the fire
that never dies away,
that never dies away.
Within our darkest night,
you kindle the fire
that never dies away,
that never dies away.
~Taize

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