December 6, 2017

Advent 2017

"Finding Peace" 

In the gospel accounts of Jesus' birth, Mary and Joseph are met with incredible, unexpected news (Mary, an ordinary girl and a virgin, will give birth to God's son), in an incredible, unexpected way (when's the last time angels talked to you?), with incredible, unexpected consequences (this child will redeem humanity). 

I doubt that many of us have ever been hit with quite so big an announcement, with something that would change our lives quite so drastically. Or have we...? There are positive examples: "Congratulations - you've been accepted," or "Will you marry me?" and more negative examples: "I'm sorry, your position has been eliminated," or "There's nothing else the doctors can do." 

Whenever we're met with a big change that catches us off guard, it's important to have ways to ground oneself, to understand the situation, to heal, and to move ahead. In the poem that follows, Wendell Berry shares how he deals with the challenges of life. May we all have some means to deal with change, like a belief in a Higher Power, a connection to nature, or people in our lives who will listen and talk with us in times of need. And, during this season of Advent, may we use the example of Mary and Joseph to remember that it its possible to deal with the incredible, unexpected changes life brings. 

The Peace of Wild Things 
- by Wendell Berry 

When despair for the world grows in me 
and I wake in the night at the least sound 
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be, 
I go and lie down where the wood drake 
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds. 
I come into the peace of wild things 
who do not tax their lives with forethought 
of grief. I come into the presence of still water. 
And I feel above me the day-blind stars 
waiting with their light. For a time 
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free. 

 -- Kyle Ballantine

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