Last year I had the privilege of writing a series of Advent poems for my home church. It was a precious, reflective season for me as I observed the birth of Christ, and the hope that His church holds in his second coming. I know there are a few of you reading my posts that are not followers of Christ. For you, I hope these poems awaken your heart to the reality of this beautiful season.
And for those of you who believe as I do, my hope is that these works will reignite in you an overwhelming sense of Christ’s presence during this Holiday Season. I’d like to share last year’s (2014) poems, and then introduce this year’s pieces as they are written during my church’s Advent 2015 observance over this next month.
This piece attempts to establish man’s need for Christ. It is a somewhat dark way to kick off the beautiful Advent season, but I feel in first seeing the darkness, we desire the light all the more.
This morning, stumbling in the dark of my living room,
Ankles popping, stiff-necked, floors groaning in protest,
I am reminded of how you first announced your presence,
Stepping out of the infinite past to write your masterpiece.
Let there be light; the first day, the first dawn,
A beacon calling all of creation out of the void,
Out onto the horizon to bask in your rising sun.
So we ran out to meet you. Out of the dust,
Into the warmth of your glow.
But your light soon revealed our flaws, our imperfections.
And we cowered back into the shadows, ashamed
Of our form, the grotesque shape of our silhouettes
Against the backdrop of your glory.
So in your loving mercy you separated yourself from your children, Turning your gaze away to shield us from your rage.
And for thousands of years we scratched and clawed
Our way through the dirt, our eyes fixed on the dark horizon
Groaning for a chance to try again.
Darkness had settled over the earth.
Your children lost, wandering, frightened.
Stories of a God that had once walked among us
Had faded into myth, lore.
But there were those whom kept one eye on the horizon.
And so you chose to reveal yourself once again,
Not in the light of a rising sun, but in a voice
Crying in the wilderness.
There is hope! The light is coming!
We will see his glory once again!
You chose this time to speak, not as the voice of our Creator,
But to the hearts of your children, stirring our souls
With dreams and visions.
But we were once again afraid, and we crept further into the depths,
Doves hiding in the cleft, our spirits longing to race out to find the voice,
Our flesh tethering us to our fears, afraid of the light of your coming glory.
And as we knelt, hiding in the dark, the sky softened to a gentle gray,
Our eyes adjusting once again, fixed on the horizon.
Out along the hillside we saw a form walking among the trees,
One that looked like the son of man, his arms outstretched,
Beckoning us to join him.
We rose together, our hearts awakened, our tethers cut.
The form motioned one last time and ascended over the rise of a distant hill.
A star rose in the East and the sound of a baby’s cry pierced the night.
This morning we have seen it,
A star in the eastern sky, its light holding our gaze,
Its promise of hope tugging at our souls, pulling us out of darkness.
Crouched in anticipation, muscles tense, hearts pounding, bones aching
We hear distant voices crying out,
Emmanuel! God is with us!
God is for us! Come and see!
At once the multitudes begin racing out of the shadows,
Our spirits leading us on, urging our flesh to keep going,
To find the light over the rise of the distant hill.
And as we ascend the hill together, tired and broken,
The star sets down and the sun rises up to meet us…
And we see him.
Wrapped in our flesh.
Our God, come to walk among us.
And together we fall to our knees, not in fear,
Not under the weight of the guilt that once bound us to the dark,
But in joyous release,
Behold! The Lamb of God!
Who takes away our sin!
Lifting our gaze, our eyes fall upon a young man,
Seated among us, telling us stories,
Pouring out wine and giving freely to all who ask.
There in his presence we remained,
Lingering on the hillside as the sun set down behind us.
Our eyes no longer scanning the horizon in hope, no longer straining
To catch a glimpse of his form walking out among the hills.
The infant crying in the night, the silhouette walking out among the trees,
The voice calling out of the void, now whispered in our ear,
Drawing us close and calling us by name.
But there were those among us that found his grace too simple,
His gospel appalling, his bread stale, his wine bitter on their lips.
And many of his children crept back into the shadows with the setting sun,
Content to bind their hearts to the familiar grip of darkness.
Those of us who remained watched as our Savior’s heart broke.
His gaze fixed on those descending back into despair, back into the void.
Rising to his feet he spilled out his cup and set his feet toward the shadows.
Our God, come to walk among us, descended into the depths
To reclaim those who had turned away, to bring them back into the light.
And stepping down into the darkness he turned back to his children and spoke.
You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.
The King of Kings bowed his head and stepped out into the night
As the moon rose overhead and cascaded its light down on us.
And turning to each other we saw his glory once again,
Not in the blaze of a rising sun or in the glow of an eastern star,
But shining in the hearts of those seated all around us.
So here we remain, a city on a hill, a light shining out into the darkness
Calling out to the void, God is with us! God is for us! Come and see!
Waiting in anticipation for the day that we will once again
Run out to meet him on the horizon and dance as silhouettes
Forever against the backdrop of his glory.
I open the blinds and ease into my chair, turning out the lamp
To get a better look at the morning sky, a soft purple,
Evidence of an approaching dawn.