A Season of Right Doubt

Christmas is hard when your world is full of doubt.
When the world’s darkness seems to encircle the pinpricks of real light, your eyes squint tight against the harsh-colored glow;
your ears are cotton-shielded against the dissonant jangle of happiness and cheer.
Christmas is jarring when your life is full of darkness.
Elizabeth Jennings, in her poem November Sonnet, writes “This is the season of right doubt/While that elected child waits to be born.”
The season of right doubt.
Do you know that there is such a thing?
season of right doubt
“Right doubt” is, in part, what this season of Advent is about.
There is a rightness about searching and uncertainty. Nature reflects God’s truth, and so this rightness is reflected in the seasonal increasing of the cold and the dark.
We do, after all, see darkly and in a mirror, so we should never feel too certain about every aspect of this mystery who is God.
We can know, of course, that God is Love, but what does Love look like? What does Love do? How does Love act?
a good uncertainty
It can be good to let go of all your certainty and surrender to what is unknown and unsure.
It can be good to let go of your need for knowing and controlling all the answers.
The darkness has been defeated but has not yet been banished.
Death does not get the final word, but it has not yet been muted.
It is good and right to feel the weight of Advent, the weight of not yet,
the weight of our waiting.
There is a doubt that is good and proper. A right doubt.
Yet never forget that the Christ child was born and because he was born, because God fulfilled his first promise, we can be certain that he will fulfill the rest of his promises.
The Light will come again.
“Tall shadows step and strut/Facing the big wind daily coming on/Faster. This is the season of right doubt/While that elected child waits to be born.” ~ Elizabeth Jennings
To hear my blog post read aloud, just click the play button. If you’re reading this in an email, you may have to click here to hear the post on my site.

Art credits: Christmas photos by Kirk Sewell; Nativity by Charles Le Brun; all other photos copyright 2020 Made Sacred

When Advent Gives Way

I want to hear from God.
I want to see luminous brilliance,
be brought to my knees by incomparable glory,
hear divine language thunder loud.
I want King on white horse, sword in fist, charging in to right all my wrongs.
What I receive is a soft, still voice deep inside.
What I receive is minor light,
a golden leaf to seize my senses,
a tune to haul up my heart.
What I receive is Baby in manger, dimpled fists, slipping in quietly to die for all my wrongs.
In this world God is mostly still hidden, coming to us in glimpse and slant.
The veil is torn but not torn away.
We see in mirror but not in full.
We dwell in dawnlight but not in brilliant sun.
So we wait for one day (soon, I hope?) when Advent gives way to Arrival.

We Are Waiting and Longing for Advent

We are a people who, more than usual this year, realize that we are living in darkness.
We are longing for a glimmer of light.
We are waiting, holding our breath, for the promised light to appear.
This is Advent.
A longing for God to come.
A waiting for God to fulfill his promises as creator God and covenant God.
What has God promised?
He has promised to come to us, to rescue us from sin and death, to make us his perfect and holy people.
In a way, we have been in Advent for months.
We have been waiting and longing for God to come down and fix this, fix us, clean up this mess we’ve made.
In a way, we have been living in Advent our whole lives.
In this season of Advent, we wait for Christmas. We practice and imagine waiting as Israel waited for hundreds of years for Messiah. Savior.
How do we know that God will keep his promise? We have waited so long.
We know that God will keep his promise because he kept it once before.
Messiah came. He came and he defeated sin and death and now we can know that God keeps his promises.
And so we keep Advent this year, especially this year, to remind ourselves that God keeps his promises.
One day he will come again and rescue us and set things right for all time. He will come and we will be his people and he will be our God.
He will come and give us the best gift of all.
To hear my blog post read aloud, just click the play button. If you’re reading this in an email, you may have to click here to hear the post on my site.

all photographs are copyright Made Sacred 2020