This picture is on my street. Sunrise. Non-filtered.
I sit outside early in the mornings and read. Lately a lot of George MacDonald and Frederick Buechner. I love the morning light, and love watching the day begin. The morning I walked outside and saw this sunrise, just a few weeks ago, I had to run back inside and grab my good camera. Not the phone. I needed something able to look a little more deeply, something that could be more true to what I was seeing. The camera phones are great for the quick snaps…but sometimes we need something sturdier. Something that shows depth.
Sometimes life is that way. The wonder around us requires us to look more deeply and not just glance. Requires us to hold our gaze long enough to see that there is hope in the midst of whatever circumstances we have.
Other times, the wonder takes our breath away and we have no choice but to recognize that something remarkable has happened. The birth of children…staggering. Music that moves you beyond yourself and elevates your gaze, makes you yearn for something more. Paintings and art that capture the Creation in a way that moves your soul immediately, reflexively.
Hope. For me, it is tied to wonder. The fact that God created in a way that inspires us, in a way that stirs us and catches our breath, tells me that He is concerned with more than just practicality. He is concerned with more than efficiency. That means that sometimes He be will hard to figure out. Sometimes it will seem He is not being efficient in solving the issues that plague me.
Sometimes I have to look a little harder to find the hope. Sometimes hope requires faith that there is more happening than what we see.
“For Christians, hope is ultimately hope in Christ. The hope that he really is what for centuries we have been claiming he is. The hope that despite the fact that sin and death still rule the world, he somehow conquered them. The hope that in him and through him all of us stand a chance of somehow conquering them too. The hope that at some unforeseeable time and in some unimaginable way he will return with healing in his wings.”
He came once. There is promise in that…the fact that He came secures our hope. He came and He made Himself known to us. He humbled Himself…came in a way that we could grasp with even a glance. A baby. Understanding the implications takes a look that finds the depth and all the nuances.
He came, and brought hope and the promise that healing will come.
“Let us know; let us press on to know the Lord;
his going out is sure as the dawn;
he will come to us as the showers,
as the spring rains that water the earth.”
Advent. The perfect time for seeing a little more deeply, for looking with a lens that allows more color and more reality to come through. Not the glances of business as usual. The lingering gaze that is caught up in wonder. Hope tends to find its way through in those moments.
Malcolm Guite provides wonderful poetry through the Advent season, paired with images and audio. Take some time, if you have not discovered him, to read through his pages. For now, here is one of his sonnets:
I cannot think unless I have been thought,
Nor can I speak unless I have been spoken.
I cannot teach except as I am taught,
Or break the bread except as I am broken.
O Mind behind the mind through which I seek,
O Light within the light by which I see,
O Word beneath the words with which I speak,
O founding, unfound Wisdom, finding me,
O sounding Song whose depth is sounding me,
O Memory of time, reminding me,
My Ground of Being, always grounding me,
My Maker’s Bounding Line, defining me,
Come, hidden Wisdom, come with all you bring,
Come to me now, disguised as everything.