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Advent – The Longest Night

December 13, 2007 Leave a comment

In the older Julian calendar, tonight would be the longest night of the year, as the light of day gave way to an engulfing dark expanse. The church responded to this bleak time by celebrating St. Lucy, a young woman martyred for her faith in the 3rd century.

While little is known about Lucy, her name means “light,” so Lucy’s Day became a way of reminding the church of God’s light upon His people in the midst of dark seasons. According to one legend, her eyes were gouged out before her death, yet she could still see.

Today many Norwegians, Swedes and Danes still celebrate the feast of St. Lucy. Some young girls will memorialize Lucy by dressing in white and wearing a crown of candlelight.

When the sun fades from our horizon and twilight gives way to encroaching dark, shadows may seem more real than the fading glories of day. The fear that seemed so weak and foolish just hours ago, now looms large in our imaginations. In spite of our fast-talking, clever minded mockery of darkness, no one can escape the struggles of the human soul.

We learn to manage our schedules, but we cannot manage out the pain of broken relationships. Our intelligence, our wit, our technology cannot save us from disappointments, tragedies, offenses, and misunderstandings. We’ve learned to treat a multitude of sicknesses and physical problems, yet our bodies are not immune to sickness and death.

The Christian faith doesn’t hide from this darkness or deny its existence, but it looks beyond the darkness to a God of light and hope and love. Some people scorn this faith as blindness or pollyanish piety, and they are free to do so.

In the midst of their sneers, we will continue to look into the darkness of a starless night with eyes to see the Uncreated Light of love. Isaiah looked out upon a crumbling kingdom. He saw the impending demise of a once great hope descending rapidly into darkness. Morality was fading and the enemies came crouching: ready to descend upon the prey of God’s forgetful people.

He saw the darkness. Yet he also saw the light. He saw the lion lay down with the lamb. He saw a little child playing in the midst of snakes. He saw men turning weapons of war into tool for planting and harvesting. He saw beyond the horizon of man’s wisdom to a God will reveals a peaceable kingdom in the midst of a world that appears to be lost for good.

His words continue to inspire and stir of world of believers…and unbelievers. No matter how deep the darkness. Now matter how loud and how long the scorners scorn. The people of God are called to look beyond the arm of human flesh to the Creator who dwells in unapproachable light.

Trusting in the goodness of God revealed in Jesus Christ, we look toward the light of His unchanging love. As we look out in hope, we see His light shining and revealing lights all around us. We see the uncountable multitudes of people like Lucy who quietly trust the Lord in the midst of a world bent on destruction.

And as we behold the unveiling of God’s light in darkness, we walk toward His light, revealing the reconciling power of His love in and through our frail and failing lives.

Web 2.0 Advent Calendar

December 11, 2006 Leave a comment

Celebrate advent and learn more about new web technologies at the same time. Check out hte Web 2.0 Advent Calendar. And while you’re at it, why not spend a little time with an Advent Calendar about Advent.

Also check out these advent calendars:

An Episcopal Diocese of Washington Advent calendar with interesting art, meditatins, and opportunities to help the needy.

Electric December offers a mutli-media advent calendar with dreams for improving our world.

Find out a little Christmas history at the New York Carver’s Advent Calendar.

Beliefnet offers an Advent calendar with meditations and interesting links.

Categories: Advent, Wonder Tags: ,

Advent Calendar

November 30, 2004 Leave a comment

This week we are meditating on the sudden, hopeful return of Christ. I’ve chosen a short poem that captures this sense of suddenness. This poem is written by Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury. Let us remember to pray for him and all our brothers and sisters in Anglican Communion.

Advent Calendar

He will come like last leaf’s fall.
One night when the November wind
has flayed trees to bone, and earth
wakes choking on the mould,
the soft shroud’s folding.

He will come like the frost.
One morning when the shrinking earth
opens on mist, to find itself
arrested in the net
of alien, sword-set beauty.

He will come like dark.
One evening when the bursting red
December sun draws up the sheet
and penny-masks its eye to yield
the star-snowed fields of sky.

He will come, will come,
will come like crying in the night,
like blood, like breaking,
as the earth writhes to toss him free.
He will come like child.

Rowan Williams

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