Thursday, December 24, 2020

"The Truth Sent from Above"

I am going to end Advent with a quote I read, by author Sarah Clarkson, at the very beginning of Advent, when I was seeking places to glean inspiration and shareable truths. This quote is kind of long, part of an essay, really, and its purpose is an introduction to the season. But, as we draw this season of Advent to a close, I think its use as a reminder is just as important.

To set the stage, listen to this English Carol, The Truth Sent from Above. The author is unknown, but this arrangement is by Ralph Vaughn Williams. Note in particular the third verse they sing:

I was listening. And when they came to that verse –

Thus we were heirs to endless woes,
Till God the Lord did interpose
For so a promise soon did run
That he would redeem us with a Son.

Oh. In an instant my heart stirred into yearning. We, oh Lord, me, here in the shadowlands bearing the endless woes and toil of our good, hard, fallen, grieved days. Me, striving, working, yearning, forgetting, losing my patience in the meantime… we here with all those small woes (and great ones too), we are the ones to whom this truth from above is sent: that He’d redeem us with a Son. I felt the yearning to be more than I am, to love more deeply, to know more fully, to return to worship rise up in me as my great sorrow and my real, returning health.

And this, I think, is a small image of what Advent does for all of us. From the clamour and work and grief and distraction of life in a fallen, modern, belligerent world, we are drawn aside into the chapel of Advent devotion. We are invited into a space where we can step away from the pained, frantic life that has become untethered from Love and come face to face with quiet. We’re invited into a moment of hush where we can learn to hear the music of God’s presence again. We often don’t know we even need it until we sojourn there a bit and find ourselves unravelled, and so achingly happy to be so.


Thank you for joining me again on this Advent journey.
Blessings to you, as the old year passes into the new.

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