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.
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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