I chased the moon on my walk home the other night, as she played peekaboo. Above rooftops and tight spaces between buildings, cracks in the arms of trees linked against the sky, power lines like black epicenters running through her heart, street lamps littering the night with excess light. She perched on the ledge of skyline, a lover's veiled face, with one traceable curve of translucent skin revealed.
And I ached to touch the untouchable beauty.
* * * * *
This whiff of mystery and beauty and longing in the night air is how I feel about the season of Advent this year.
That veiled moon with her skin exposed, so ancient and familiar, both known and vastly unknown to me.
A distant promise seemingly untouchable, ever coming closer, looming larger on the horizon, gradually revealed.
The mounting anticipation.
The darkness of night, so heavy at times, and yet standing here in the midst of it with all senses open, wildly vibrant.
The unveiling of hope in not so much a blaze of glory as a whispered secret meant to be spread far and wide, to the darkest ends of the earth, easily drowned out in the throng.
I want to follow this whispered secret home as I much as I want to chase the moon.
* * * * *
I can't do this, I murmur to God on the wind, at my side. Not this year.
I can't try to resurrect festive holiday feelings in activities and traditions, hoping to silence the grief.
I can't read Christ in the same pages of story, told with the same words, sitting in the same places I once sat.
If I must close my eyes and listen to the wind and the trees tell the Story of a coming Savior; if I must open my eyes and see him in the crescent moon, ever growing; I will.
Maybe the Story will be told to me this year in the vein of an old carol - and my storytellers, all of creation, singing -
Do you see what I see?
A star, a star, dancing in the night
with a tail as big as a kite...
Do you hear what I hear?
A song, a song, high above the trees
with a voice as big as the seas...
Do you know what I know?
The Child, the Child, sleeping in the night
he will bring us goodness and light.
* * * * *
The piano song still surging in my ears through headphones, I look down and see the title of it on my Pandora screen -
"I give up." (Please, go here to listen. And maybe just sit a moment. The piano sings like the wind).
Yes, yes I do.
Not on the Story, but on searching this year for new glimpses of its mystery and glory told in the same, worn voices. I give up on trying to squeeze what is new in my faith back into old places my faith has outgrown.
I give up this year on expecting to one day resurrect the holidays as they used to be and myself as I used to be in them.
I give up on looking for Christ in all of the same places I used to expect to find him. Before there were churches and sermons and blog posts, and even a story printed in the pages of a bible, all the way back then, there was a Story unfolding and waiting to be born in the flesh of a God-child. Before the Story was ever born on a page, it was seeded and scattered throughout creation, in the wildest, commonest, humblest of places.
I want to find him there.
This heart of mine, doubting, disturbed and still yawning open, longs to see the birth of Christ outside the walls of church, right where I am, in the fields and down by the lake and walking the web of city streets between home and elsewhere.
* * * * *
I kneel down on the cold concrete and let the promise of Advent season wash over me, dancing through me like the wind in all its joyful energy this night. My face tilts upward, toward the wind, and I close my eyes and listen.
He will bring us goodness and light.
Linking up with the lovely community of writers at Unforced Rhythms.
* This post was written, not only for myself, but especially for all who find themselves at the start of another holiday season, another Advent, with conflicted feelings and a changing landscape of faith, maybe even where loss and grief have touched and altered how they experience this season. Who perhaps, like me, are caught in transition from old to new and hunger, more than anything, for a place in the midst of it all to see what is with fresh eyes and to long for what is not yet with others who are on a similar journey. I plan on writing more Advent reflections throughout this month, about once a week, and invite you to make yourself at home here if this place resonates with you.