Rowan Williams, “Advent Calendar”


He will come like last leaf’s fall.
One night when the November wind
has flayed the trees to bone, and earth
wakes choking on the mould,
the soft shroud’s folding.

He will come like frost.
One morning when the shrinking earth
opens on mist, to find itself
arrested in the net
of alien, sword-set beauty.

He will come like dark.
One evening when the bursting red
December sun draws up the sheet
and penny-masks its eye to yield
the star-snowed fields of sky.

He will come, will come,
will come like crying in the night,
like blood, like breaking,
as the earth writhes to toss him free.
He will come like child.

There is no doubt that Byrd is in part expressing the anguish of his co-religionists, caught up in the destruction of their worship and hopes. As an Advent text, though, it implicitly expects salvation, as shown by the repeated versicle Rorate caeli, “Drop down ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down the just one.” Like Isaiah looking forward to the Messiah, Byrd died hoping for a Christmas deliverance.

Christopher Howse, singing the praises of composer William Byrd based on the striking new account by Kerry McCarthy, Byrd (via oupacademic)

Amarillo skyline paintings and sketch.

These were part of a larger project celebrating Advent at our church and illustrating passages out of Isaiah. These paintings were meant to illustrate Isaiah 1 and Isaiah 29, but I chose my hometown of Amarillo as the subject instead of Jerusalem. I love our city.

At some point, I’ll write a note about the group of people who contributed to the whole project. They have been an unexpected source of joy these past few months and we are grateful to call them friends; grateful to see His love being perfected in us.

Christmas is for hoping in Christ’s return

“Whenever there is disaster,” he said, “it means a new day, a new life.” When he saw the tree decorated with the faces of the dead, he cried, he said. But he was where he belonged, he said. “We don’t have anything else,” he said, “just to pray and continue.”

– A young Iraqi Christian on Christmas Eve, commenting on the slayings of Christians by terrorists in Baghdad.

Christmas is for hoping in Christ’s return

Advent Sonnet #2 – Romans 1

Romans 1:3-4

O Messiah, Your prism mysteries
Have scattered the light ‘cross my feeble eyes.
In my blinking, I’ve seen the strange stories
Of how one man born can be fathered twice.

Son of Man, son of Adam, David’s son:
Death spread to all men because we all sinned.
You, grafted in, donned our skin to be undone
Like the oven-fired grasses just de-stemmed.

Son of God, declared by resurrection:
The Glory of Your heavenly Father
Breathed new life into fallen creation
With the same Spirit that hovered o’er waters.

By that Spirit do we call out, “Father!”,
Having been dead, now raised His sons and daughters.