Earth grown old, yet still so green,
Deep beneath her crust of cold
Nurses fire unfelt, unseen:
Earth grown old.
We who live are quickly told:
Millions more lie hid between
Inner swathings of her fold.
When will fire break up her screen?
When will life burst through her mould?
Earth, earth, earth, thy cold is keen,
Earth grown old.
Sun rises, and sun sets. We live our broken lives, enduring the aches and pains, groaning along with creation as it waits. And we wait. We live the drudgery of our everyday normal lives. We live lives that feel stuck or purposeless or endless. We complete our work and we go about our lives, but we long for joy and vibrancy. Amidst a world at war around us, we long for peace only the Prince of Peace can give.
The days grow shorter; the nights grow longer. A chill enters the air. Advent begins, and we remember our waiting as a spiritual practice. We celebrate it. We lean into it. We talk about our waiting together, and we wait for hope and peace, love and joy. We long for the coming of the Messiah who will make all things new. Who will bring the hope and peace and love and joy that we so desperately long for.
The winter solstice, the shortest day of the year, comes, and still we wait. Shivering. Hopeful. We turn our eyes to the horizon and watch for the coming of the sun, for its return. For the return of the light that will signal that change is coming.
For three more days after the solstice, we wait. Our eyes cannot perceive anything new. We live in the darkness, hoping for the light. We await the resurrection of the sun.
And though our eyes cannot perceive it, the sun is at work. The light is already growing. Resurrection is underway. It bursts out on Christmas Day, with our joyful celebrations, the end of the Advent season. Our hearts overflow with joy as we celebrate the coming of the Messiah, new life come into the world as Emmanuel, God With Us.
Winter is a time of rest, hunkering down inside, cozying up to the fire. The world outside appears dormant. But the sun is at work. The light is already growing. And in due time, it will bring to life all creation. Snow will melt. Trees will spring into leaf. New life will come. Each leaf mundane and yet reason for celebration. Each new bird completely ordinary and yet equally extraordinary.
In the winter of your soul, you may feel hunkered down. You may feel like you need to stay inside, that beside the fire is the only safe place. You may feel dormant and empty, void of growth. But the Son is at work. The light is already growing. And in due time, He will bring new life to your soul. You will spring into leaf, into vibrancy and joy. Each new day mundane routine and yet reason for celebration. Each task, each moment, each breath completely ordinary and yet equally extraordinary.
You can’t see it, but the sun is at work. The light is already growing. Resurrection is coming.
See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:19 (NIV)