Saturday, December 13, 2014

From "The End" to "Once Upon a Time..."

Advent: Week 2

Toward the end of each year I become eager for the next. Perhaps the new year's freshness wafts into my soul, breathing life inside. Maybe I think the current year has been quite long enough—I am ready for new dreams, people, and places. Deeper than than that, though, is the reality that the new church year has already begun. Advent is the new beginning amidst the end. The steps of the Great Dance have come full circle, to be made new in this familiar theme.

For me, Advent, Christmas, and New Year's are the season of both looking back and peering to see ahead. Hindsight is not always as clear as people say it is. Upon reviewing this year, I see a lot of messy, painful life situations for my friends, family, and myself. These things do not wrap up neatly at the end of the year. There is still much question-asking and inability to see God's plan unfolding. In some cases all I can see are the tossing heads of hoary waves, no land in sight. How can anyone survive the turbulence, the repeated buffets, of such conditions with no respite in view? Only by Hope. Hope is the anchor for our souls, to keep us from drifting out to sea and being lost among the crashing, crushing waves. 

Hope. Anchor. Abandonment. Ashes. Fearlessness. Bitterness. Forgiveness. These words have twisted into a thick cord, the thread woven through the tapestry of this year. They have haunted the rising and falling melody of the Great Dance with their dissonance, assonance, and resonance. What words will step into their places this new year? What themes will emerge in the music always over our lives, in the weaving of God's seen-story? 

I do not have answers yet. The above words have been whirling through my thoughts, writing, and reading so much that I had to again spill them upon the page. With these words I go from "The End" toward the unknown "Once upon a time." This next story may be full of ogres, sorrow, and sore loss—but it may be filled with valiant warriors for what is right, with wisdom sought and found. I suspect that it, too, will end with Hope.  

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. 
~ Saint John  1:1-5 (ESVUK) 

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