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A Poem for this Advent

A Poem for this Advent

A Poem for this Advent

I wrote this poem two years ago during Advent. Looking back on it now it highlights so clearly what I feel like I’ve lost this past year, as COVID-19 has transformed almost everything. I find myself longing to meet at church again, the way we used to, with all the familiar trappings. I imagine this is true for a lot of folks. But there is something else here too:

 

advent 

i am in love

with the empty church

an hour before the service

while the chairs are still stacked

and the coffee just begins to bubble.

the altar is covered in a blue cloth,

the spotlight is off.

 

jesus

has breath held,

hoping the guests arrive.

we row the chairs,

stack the hymnals.

they begin to enter,

pressed pants and sparkly shoes.

good morning.

a small hand in a larger, rougher one.

a cane scrapes the floor.

a gorgeous hat,

a wide smile.

 

these weeks before christmas

we say we are waiting

for the light

to be born into the world,

for the first cry,

the infant sigh.

but mornings like this I think

the light is already here.

we are waiting til we’re ready

to open our eyes.

 

the light is already here.

we are waiting til we’re ready

to open our eyes.

 

Those last three lines hold the key for me to be able to move forward in this new reality, in this present Advent.

The light IS already here, in me, alone here in my little house, in you wherever you are. If we’re ready and willing to open our eyes to it, the light of Christ is everywhere, streaming through the dirtiest windows, sneaking through the cracks in the walls. We just have to open our eyes.

 

(Ed. note: this poem has previously appeared in the newsletters of St. Alban’s, Albany, and All Souls, Berkeley California)

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