Each year I post the following poem. Each year I think, ‘Yes! In this time we need to hear this.’ Those around us are in pain, and the things are unsteady.
We need to hear the call that God has come into the midst of the chaos, and has made a way to peace. He has come not to simply fix things from afar, but stepped into our midst and touched our pain. He understands our grief.
The incredible mystery of the Incarnation…of God in flesh. We need to pause of Advent to remind us of the depth of that mystery. We need to catch our breath in anticipation…to be ready on Christmas morning to rejoice! And of course it is not that December 25 is the day, that we know with certainty that is when He came…but that is the day we recognize. That is the day we celebrate.
Sometimes I hit December 25 and I am exhausted from the holidays. I am tired from the decorating and the energy of shopping and the awareness of friends who truly struggle through this season. I hit December 25th and am ready to pass out on the couch.
Advent provides an alternative to that. Spending the next 25 days (starting on December 1st) anticipating the celebration. Taking the pause in our schedules of parties and programs and shopping and planning to reflect. Slowing down what can be so hectic to listen and remember and be amazed.
Part of the anticipation is the awareness of our need. The deep awareness of our wounded world. The chaos around us, the fears and the unrest. The struggle that many are facing. Right now, today, in the midst of that, God has come. He is not a distant God, He is not afraid or aloof to our fears and pain and sorrow. He stepped in to the midst of that and provided a way to peace. A way to healing. That is worth thinking on, and worth rejoicing.
He did not wait till the world was ready,
till men and nations were at peace.
He came when the Heavens were unsteady,
and prisoners cried out for release.
He did not wait for the perfect time.
He came when the need was deep and great.
He dined with sinners in all their grime,
turned water into wine. He did not wait
till hearts were pure. In joy he came
to a tarnished world of sin and doubt.
To a world like ours, of anguished shame
he came, and his Light would not go out.
He came to a world which did not mesh,
to heal its tangles, shield its scorn.
In the mystery of the Word made Flesh
the Maker of the stars was born.
We cannot wait till the world is sane
to raise our songs with joyful voice,
for to share our grief, to touch our pain,
He came with Love: Rejoice! Rejoice!