Northern Advent (poem)

Northern Advent

Scattered desiccated leaves cling to branches
against autumn’s churning winds,
resisting deciduous barrenness,
new coloured prominence of
Red Pine, Juniper, Hemlock.

Feathered, long-distant migrants
soar, flit, and fly from greyed terrain
for southern home and habitat;
wintering chickadees cache seeds
in creviced bark for hunger’s moment.

Poet’s romantic autumnal landscape
lost on those sleeping rough tonight,
rougher for indifferent wind, sleet,
and world.

Wax and wick, strike of match,
white phosphorous flare and flame, Continue reading

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convenient pieties — holding Christ at arm’s length

King Ahaz of Judah has a problem.

Actually, King Ahaz of Judah has a number of problems. But the most pressing problem is that two neighbouring nations are threatening war against him. The northern kingdom of Israel, under King Pekah, and the neighbouring nation of Syria under King Rezin have made an alliance and are threatening to attack. It is no idle threat. We read in Isaiah chapter 7 that when they heard about this military threat, “the heart of Ahaz and the heart of his people shook as the trees of the forest shake before the wind.”

King Ahaz and the people of Judah are afraid. King Ahaz is not confident in the strength of his own forces. He’s not confident in the capacity of his soldiers to repel this military assault. He is deeply fearful that this will mean death and destruction and defeat for himself and for Judah. “The heart of Ahaz and the heart of his people shook as the trees of the forest shake before the wind.”

Into the middle of all of this comes Isaiah the prophet. And he comes with a word of challenge and a word of warning. His message from God to Ahaz is this: “If you do not stand firm in faith, you shall not stand at all.” Continue reading