The whole world waits in December darkness for a glimpse of the Light of God.Ann Weems
This pandemic seems like it will never end, doesn’t it? It began back in March, in the Season of Lent, and led many to call that season the “Lentiest Lent” we have ever had. If that was the case, then this is surely the “Adventiest Advent” we have ever had, too. This is a season of waiting, and of preparation, but this seems like what we have been doing year! Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote from his prison cell in Germany that “a prison cell like this is a good analogy for Advent; one waits, hopes, does this or that – ultimately negligible things – the door is locked and can only be opened from the outside.” These words resonate for me this year, as we wait and hope for a vaccine for this virus and a return to “normal.” The door to our “normal life” is also locked, and can only be opened from the outside.
What can this pandemic teach us about our salvation? What can the season of Advent teach us about how to live faithfully in these challenging times? This season, which is all about waiting, is also about the faithful waiting that leads to hope, and the hope that leads to a desire to share this hope and our confidence in God with others. Advent reminds us that our faith cannot be locked up, nor can our hope or our love. No pandemic or prison cell can keep them contained. They spill out, like light through the cracks in a door, to offer a glimpse in this dark, weary world of the Light of God.
When the pandemic began I offered a devotional booklet called “Poems, Prayers, Psalms, and Promises.” I have been offering these devotions ever since, and here is a poem, prayer, psalm, and promise for this season of Advent.
Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord.
Lord, hear my voice!
Let your ears be attentive
to the voice of my supplications!
If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities,
Lord, who could stand?
But there is forgiveness with you,
so that you may be revered.
I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
and in his word I hope;
my soul waits for the Lord
more than those who watch for the morning,
more than those who watch for the morning.
O Israel, hope in the Lord!
For with the Lord there is steadfast love,
and with him is great power to redeem.
It is he who will redeem Israel
from all its iniquities.
Even youths will faint and be weary, and the young will fall exhausted; but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. – Isaiah 40:30-31
Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. – Romans 12:12
Devotional Poem: “In December Darkness” by Ann Weems
The whole world waits in December darkness
for a glimpse of the Light of God.
Even those who snarl “Humbug!”
and chase away the carolers
have been seen looking toward the skies.
The one who declared he never would forgive
and those who left home
and even wars are halted,
as the whole world looks starward.
In the December darkness
we peer from our windows
watching for an angel with rainbow wings
to announce the Hope of the World.
We wait, Lord, and we watch, and we hope, and we pray. More than those who watch for the morning, we wait for a glimpse of the Light that we know can come only from you. Help us, Lord, to rejoice in hope, to be patient in suffering, and to persevere in prayer, as we wait and watch for you. And help us not just to wait and to pray, but also to reflect your light into our dark and weary world, so that others may have their strength renewed, too. In Jesus’ name. Amen