Already Advent; Not Yet Christmastide
It's Saint Lucy's day as I put the final touches on this last newsletter of the year, and it's dark out. It'll be another six or seven hours before I'm in bed, but already the night has swallowed up the day. Advent is a sombre season, appropriate for people who dwell in manifold darkness. Yet, it's also shot through with Christmas hope. My daughter's name is Lucy, but she's named in honour of the youngest Narnian child, not the 4th Century martyr. Traditionally, I am told, Saint Lucy's Day is celebrated to coincide with the darkest night of the year. Candles are lit, and eldest daughters would actually wear a wreath of candles on their heads in tribute to Lucy's service to persecuted christians in the Roman catacombs (she wore the candles on her head to carry more food). Oh, and her name, from the Latin Lucia, means light.
An appropriate feast day for Advent, I think. Candles and coffee and gingerbread, shared by small hands who set a table that shuts the door against the darkness. I can't think of a better practice for a season of waiting.
Dark now, yes, but not forever. A people yet in darkness we may be, but we await a great light.
Essay: Integrity and the Future of the Church
Writing in Plough, Russel Moore reflects on how the church stands to lose everything that matters in seeking to win the culture wars.
A religion that calls people away from Western modernity will have to say, with credibility, “Take up your cross and follow me,” not “Come with us, and we’ll own the libs.” You can do that on YouTube and not even give up a Sunday morning.
Poem: Making the House Ready for the Lord
This poem is new to me, although it seems to be an advent standard for many. It is beautiful in the quiet way of woodland creatures who, when startled, meet the eye of the beholder for a moment – then disappear. That longing to hold the wonder-filled gaze forever is, at least for me, Advent.