Charm with your stainlessness these winter nights,
Skies, and be perfect!
Fly vivider in the fiery dark, you quiet meteors,
You moon, be low to go down,
This is your full!
The four white roads make off in silence
Towards the four parts of the starry universe.
Time falls like manna at the corners of the wintry earth.
We have become more humble than the rocks,
More wakeful than the patient hills.
Charm with your stainlessness these nights in Advent, holy spheres,
While minds, as meek as beasts,
Stay close at home in the sweet hay;
And intellects are quieter than the flocks that feed by starlight.
Oh pour your darkness and your brightness over all our solemn valleys,
You skies: and travel like the gentle Virgin,
Toward the planets' stately setting,
Oh white full moon as quiet as Bethlehem!
Lord Jesus, master of both the light and the darkness,
send your Holy Spirit upon our preparations for Christmas.
We who have so much to do seek quiet spaces to hear your voice each day.
We who are anxious over many things look forward to your coming among us.
We who are blessed in so many ways long for the complete joy of your kingdom.
We whose hearts are heavy seek the joy of your presence.
We are your people, walking in darkness, yet seeking the light.
To you we say, "Come Lord Jesus!"
— Henri Nouwen
Christ the true vine, Icon, Athens 16th century.
"Show me your ways, O Lord: and teach me your paths. Lead me in the ways of your truth, and teach me: for you are the God of my salvation." Ps 25.3-4.
Music for Psalm 25, by Claude Goudimel (c.1514-72), Genevan Psalter 1551, with paintings by Cornelis de Man (Netherlands, 1621-1706) of churches in Rotterdam and Delft
May the Lord, when he comes, find us watching and waiting. Amen.