Gratitude/Advent

On this Eve of Thanksgiving I’m grateful to be surrounded by love, and grateful for the opportunity to journey with you all through the seasons of life.

Thanksgiving weekend has become the major get together for my side of the family and we will be heading out to Bellefontaine tomorrow and arriving back to Columbus for Sunday worship.

Speaking of which…we are entering the season of Advent.  When the planning group got together we settled on a single word to guide us through the season: Disruption.  It shows up in the texts in different ways, which lead to the ultimate disruption of Christ’s birth and all the ways Christ is continually born when we take a similar posture as Mary, a willingness to bear Christ in our bodies as an offering to the world.

The first week of Advent focuses on what is often called the “Second Coming,” or what I like to think of as the “Continual Coming” of Christ, a present and future reality.  A poem that the planning group discussed is William Butler Yeats startling and somewhat enigmatic “The Second Coming.”  Written in the wake of World War I, it speaks into the heart of a world reeling with violence.  It ends with a question mark, and challenges us to ponder the contrast between the meekness of the Christ child and whatever beast it is that might be slouching toward Bethlehem.  It’s good poem to revisit about this time every year as the apocalyptic texts of Advent 1 come our way and we ponder that this season is not merely looking back at an ancient event, but calls for an awakening of consciousness to Divine Presence in the present and the yet-to-be.

The Second Coming

BY WILLIAM BUTLER YEATS

Turning and turning in the widening gyre

The falcon cannot hear the falconer;

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;

Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,

The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere

The ceremony of innocence is drowned;

The best lack all conviction, while the worst

Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;

Surely the Second Coming is at hand.

The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out

When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi

Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert

A shape with lion body and the head of a man,

A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,

Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it

Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.

The darkness drops again; but now I know

That twenty centuries of stony sleep

Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,

And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,

Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

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