Wednesday, December 18

Advent meditation

Can you be haunted by heaven?

Can it follow you and hang on you until you must sit and ache until you can bear to go about your day again?

Hang your wreath, plug in your lights, yes. Then sit and be weary with me a while. It’s Christmas again and we’re still waiting for our King.

Sufjan Stevens, a man of questionable spiritual and artistic authority, aches with me in this song:

Lord, come with fire
Lord, come with fire
Everyone’s wasting their time
Storing up treasure in vain
Trusting the pleasure it gives here on earth
Oh I see the end
Oh I see the end
Everyone’s waiting for death

Not very cheerful for a Christmas song. But as we drive through a mall parking lot for a space, dizzied by the circular looping search for a space amid hundreds of pleasure-trusters, he might be quite right about this season’s particular storing-up nature. This time wasting business is fruitless. “Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun.” (Ecc. 2)


In T.S. Eliot’s poem “The Journey of the Magi,” his wise men are heavy with the reality of Jesus and his kingdom:

were we led all that way for
Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly
We had evidence and no doubt. I had seen birth and death,
But had thought they were different; this Birth was
Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death.
We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,
But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,
With an alien people clutching their gods.
I should be glad of another death.

My heart is quiet here, caught between chasing the wind and waiting for my Lord. There is nothing to say. I can only hope and wait in the promises I hold on to. Dwell here, because this is the essence of Christmas. He promised he would come, and he did. He promised to return. Now we wait again.

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, a new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

No sermon today, friends. Just a heavy ache and a heart full of love for the coming King.

Wait and hope with me.


  1. You have the best blog title ever - daring to disturb the universe - its like a call to question the arrogant darkness with the questions of heaven - pure genius! I wonder what other genius is to be found within this blog. I shall find out.

  2. it is pure genius, because i did not come up with it! it's a line from T.S. Eliot's poem, "The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock."