In the Bleak Midwinter

What Are You Waiting For?

We have two choices; we are either waiting for death, or we are waiting for life. We can stockpile our weapons, or we can sing into the darkness. We can live in fear of our neighbor and cling more tightly to our stuff, our answers, our ‘rights.’ Or, we can say, enough already; our way is not working. We can make a way in this wilderness for God to do a new thing in us, for us, maybe even with us.

Into this wilderness, a child is born. A son is given. On those who walk in darkness–refusing to give easy answers, and willing to mourn with those who mourn–on them, light has shined. And will continue to shine.

We who preach a better kind of good news–we say no to internet theology. We say no to political grandstanding. We say no to interpretations of scripture, and of our constitution, that justify human suffering as the cost of our freedom or of our salvation. We agree to walk in some darkness, and to live with some uncertainty, if that is what it takes to birth Christ into the world.

Because it is in this place–when we have admitted that our way is not working, and that we have no answers–it is here that, finally, God can do a new thing with us. For all our shiny lights and joyful celebrations, Jesus did not come to the world as it should be. He did not come in the bounty of springtime, or the joyful sparkling summer. He was born to a place frozen, broken, and long-forgotten. He was born, and will come again, to a world that has lost its way, and is finally, finally, ready to see the light. Perhaps that is the greatest joy of all; that even in the chill of winter, love was born again.

In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,                                                                                                                                                                     Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone.                                                                                                                                                                              Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,                                                                                                                                                                             In the bleak midwinter, long ago.


Our God, heaven cannot hold Him, nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away when He comes to reign.
In the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.
Angels and archangels may have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim thronged the air;
But His mother only, in her maiden bliss,
Worshipped the beloved with a kiss.
What can I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
Yet what I can I give Him… give my heart.

–Christina Rossetti

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