Saturday, December 15, 2018

Rejoice and Wonder: Quotes from Madeleine L'Engle

There are ten more days of Advent, so today, I want to share three quotes from Madeleine L'Engle's third Crosswicks Journal, The Irrational Season. L'Engle's Advent poetry was one of the main reasons I began this blog ten years ago. She has a way of taking the twists and turns of human thought and unraveling them to resemble the mysteries of God. I am thankful for the way her mind and heart knew the best words to say.

". . .Christmas evoked in me that response which makes me continue to struggle to understand, with the mind in the heart, the love of God for his creation, a love which expressed itself in the Incarnation.  That tiny, helpless baby whose birth we honor contained the Power behind the universe, helpless, at the mercy of its own creation.”

"When I am able to pray with the mind in the heart, I am joyfully able to affirm the irrationality of Christmas.

As I grow older
I get surer
Man’s heart is colder,
His life no purer.
As I grow steadily
More austere
I come less readily
To Christmas each year.
I can’t keep taking
Without a thought
Forced merrymaking
And presents bought
In crowds jostling.
Alas, there’s naught
In empty wassailing
Where oblivion’s sought.
Oh, I’d be waiting
With quiet fasting
A joy more lasting.
And so I rhyme
With no apology
During this time
of eschatology:
Judgment and warning
Come like thunder.
But now is the hour
When I remember
An infant’s power
On a cold December.
Midnight is dawning
And the birth of wonder."

"Cribb’d, cabined, and confined within the contours of a human infant. The infinite defined by the finite? The Creator of all life thirsty and abandoned? Why would he do such a thing? Aren’t there easier and better ways for God to redeem his fallen creatures?

. . .And yet Christmas is still for me a time of hope, of hope for the courage to love and accept love, a time when I can forget that my Christology is extremely shaky and can rejoice in God’s love. . ."
Advent is a thin place. A place where our faith is magnified. A place where we can feel, all the more deeply, 
that love
came down.


  1. I am looking for a copy of the o'antiphon prayers that Madeleine wrote - do you know anyone who by chance has them?

  2. Hi, your post is by "unknown" . . . who's asking? O Oriens, O Sapientia, and O Simplicitas (I think the O Antiphons she made up) are published a few different places. I recently found them in her collection of Christmas writings, Miracle on 10th Street. You can also find them all online, on blogs similar to mine.


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