Advent 24 and 25: Let Evening Come

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I am cheating and smooshing two posts into one. I’ve been running on writing fumes and have no idea how people write whole books. The years I’ve done this Advent writing, I always notice the same few things—how writing every day is far preferable to waiting for a profundity to arrive on my doorstep, how writing never makes me feel worse about anything, and how much better I become at noticing the questions and miracles inherent in any boring day.

I also notice how connected I feel to my readers, though I don’t know who most of you are. Awhile ago, I disabled comments so my readers can be freed up to simply receive. And also so I don’t maniacally check all day long to see who commented or infer that a low number of comments means the post was dumb or trite or pompous or all the other things I am prone to tell myself. Though pulling the comment field makes this blog more one-way, I’ve been surprised that when I sit down to write, I still feel you.

Thank you for reading and thank you for keeping me company on this Advent journey of waiting and watching. Thank you for giving me more reason to notice what’s going on in me and around me.

The poem I’m including tonight, by favorite poet Jane Kenyon, is probably more end-of-year than Christmas Eve, but I’ve been thinking of it all day long. At the end of every year and at the end of each day when darkness descends, I think our souls remember that everything ends. Even in the joy of birth, I remember looking at my babies and thinking, “This won’t last forever.” If Mary didn’t know the same in Jesus’ early years, she certainly knew it as she watched him tortured and assassinated for his message of love.

So one of the things I repeat to myself during times of change, doubt, uncertainty, or sorrow, is “Let evening come.” That beautiful phrase is from this poem. Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, may you and your loved ones be shepherded and provided for on your journey in this next year.

Let Evening Come

Let the light of late afternoon
shine through chinks in the barn, moving
up the bales as the sun moves down.

Let the cricket take up chafing
as a woman takes up her needles
and her yarn. Let evening come.

Let dew collect on the hoe abandoned
in long grass. Let the stars appear
and the moon disclose her silver horn.

Let the fox go back to its sandy den.
Let the wind die down. Let the shed
go black inside. Let evening come.

To the bottle in the ditch, to the scoop
in the oats, to air in the lung
let evening come.

Let it come, as it will, and don’t
be afraid. God does not leave us
comfortless, so let evening come.