Daily Reflection
December 14th, 2000
Jeanne Schuler
Philosophy Department
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Isaiah 41:13-20
Psalms 145:1, 9-13
Matthew 11:11-15

An Advent Prayer

Advent and darkness come on together.  Even turning back the clocks can’t stretch the day.  Shades are drawn.  The furnace kicks on and off.  Kids scramble for a register and squat with their cereal.  The street looks cold from the window.  One night a wind howls but no more wolves.  Musty sweaters are pulled from drawers and the search for gloves begins.  As Christmas draws near, the lights come on.  Up and down the block, the red, the blue, big green bulbs, but mostly white.  We were waiting for the lights.  They shine as we fall asleep.

Scripture speaks of the nearness of God.  Near enough to grasp a hand and pull us to our feet again.  Near enough to moisten parched tongues and set the desert abloom.  Near enough to hear our muttering when we think we’re alone.  Excuses.  Regrets.  Lifting us when the spirit sags.  Our step quickens again.

Or is this poetry talking?  Are we dreaming like those who yearn for home, for children to live, for wars to end?  Where was God when the Cherokee were driven west?  When migrants drown in the river?  Think of all those despised as unclean.  My pain belongs on this list too.  What prophet ever comes in time to rouse the weary and disturb the complacent?  Textbooks call it the “problem of evil,” and in the contest with faith, isn’t evil the winner?

We journey to Bethlehem bruised and doubtful.  Your light draws us and we hardly know why.  Our needs lack words.  Somewhere between tears and hope we run into you again.  Your goodness surprises us.  We answer with unexpected song.

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