During Advent, we meditate on the Second Coming of Christ as well as the first. In the book of Revelation, it says: “And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” I could not help but think of what Christ’s face will look like when we are presented to Him as His bride when I looked at these photos. May they be a meditation for you of the pure love of your Bridegroom: 24 grooms seeing their brides for the first time. So great is His love for you.
Reblogging from Ann Voskamp this morning: When You’re This Close to Giving Up Hope Just a reminder that He’s always, always near. Hold on.
A beautiful Advent Sunday-poem from Luci Shaw:
Even from the cabin window I sensed the wind’s
contagion begin to infect the rags of leaves.
Then the alders gilded to it, obeisant, the way
angels are said to bow, covering their faces with
their wings, not solemn, as we suppose, but
possessed of a sudden, surreptitious hilarity.
When the little satin wind arrived,
I felt it slide through the cracked-open door
(A wisp of prescience? A change in the weather?),
and after the small push of breath–You
entering with your sir of radiant surprise,
I the astonished one.
These still December mornings
I fancy I live in a clear envelope of angels
like a cellophane womb. Or a soap bubble,
the colors drifting, curling. Outside
everything’s tinted rose, grape, turquoise,
silver–the stones by the path, the skin of sun
on the pond ice, at night the aureola of
a pregnant moon, like me, irridescent,
almost full-term with light.
I don’t usually post Christmas music videos before Christmas. (Trying to keep Advent Advent.) But this one is special. And it’s for all of you who are having a hard time during this Advent season, finding it hard to be joyful like all of those around you. This one’s for you (from Steven Curtis Chapman).
And here’s his story behind the song.
Now, go back and listen to the song again, written just for you.
A sharing by Ann Voskamp (filmed by her daughter, Hope-Girl) on Hope, the greatest gift.
The talk from last night’s Witnesses to Hope talk, “Waiting in Hope,” is now available here.
“Waiting patiently in expectation is the foundation of the spiritual life.”
Go here: Advent Waiting
This Sunday poem may not strike you immediately as a poem for Advent, but as you read it, I think you’ll see why I chose it. It’s a favorite poem of mine by one of my favorite writers, Anthony Esolen. I do hope that you savor and relish it as much as I do upon reading it. Let’s never go back to Egypt, but continue to yearn with a great yearning.
When Israel Went Out of Egypt
When Israel went out of Egypt
Behind the spattered doorposts I recall
My elders muttering prayers of terror when
Night and the angel of destruction fell
On the firstborn of Egypt; heard the cry
Of the heart-broken women like sea-birds
Calling over the waste; saw the black surge
Smash the great army that pursued us still,
As a child smashes sticks; saw, looking back,
Strange residue upon the settling sea,
Robes and plumes, white faces, fingers at the reins,
The upturned necks of horses lodged in mud
And broken chariot wheels; stood at the mountain
When thunder made my people hide their eyes
And the lone prophet sojourned to the height
To bring us back the great gift of the Law;
Wavered a moment when the earth beneath
Cracked, and devoured the rebels whole; bent double
To scramble up the grains of what-is-this,
Seethed them and baked the paste into sweet wafers;
Swung the good sword at the Amalekite,
Well while the prophet held his old arms high,
But when they fell, our favor fell with them.
I have known all these things and more, far more;
Yet sometimes when the evening sun’s at rest
On the long sands behind, there comes again
A hint of something subtle on the air,
A slither of a scent, or festal song;
Come to me only, though a guilty glance
Now and again from one of my old friends
Betrays a similar thought: for there are times,
God help us, there are times when we might trade
The holy Torah and the heaven-dropped food
And all the fiery wonders of the desert,
The promise of a land we have not seen,
For wheat in ear upon the river’s mud,
A pot of lamb stew rich in leeks and onions,
And brown girls wearing no more than a sash
Smiting the tambourine upon the hip;
For slavery too had something for the slave.
Then the sun sets; we huddle in our tents,
We bow, we pray; and the great yearning falls
Like dew upon the Sabbath eve: to hold
Close to our hearts that choice that is not ours,
That He would dwell among us, Israel,
Bound among all the nations to be free.