Advent 1 – The Coming


And God held in his hand

A small globe. Look he said.

The son looked. Far off,

As through water, he saw

A scorched land of fierce

Colour. The light burned

There; crusted buildings

Cast their shadows: a bright

Serpent, a river

Uncoiled itself, radiant

With slime.

                       On a bare

Hill a bare tree saddened

The sky. Many People

Held out their thin arms

To it, as though waiting

For a vanished April

To return to its crossed

Boughs. The son watched

Them. Let me go there, he said.

The Coming, RS Thomas

Advent is one of my favourite liturgical seasons. There’s something magical about it, but it so easily gets swept up in the pre-Christmas preparations, from shopping for presents or preparing food, to parties and catch-ups with people you haven’t spoken to since last Christmas. This year I was trying to get all those things done early partly because I wanted to keep Advent feeling distinct and special – lots of Christmas presents have been bought, but they aren’t wrapped and I haven’t made cards yet, so some preparations are inevitably going to end up sneaking in! To try and keep focused I’m going to try and write one Adventy blog a week and share poems and Advent carols or hymns if there are appropriate ones! 

Yesterday was Advent Sunday, and I went to an Advent carol service (you can read the reflection here, written by my mum – It was a lovely service with some excellent hymns, including a few of my favourites. I can’t sing at all, but congregational singing always makes me happy.

The poem I’m sharing today is by RS Thomas, a Welsh poet from the 20th century who was also an ordained Anglican priest – I first encountered him at a study at an SCM weekend away, led by our former General Council chaplain Dylan. He mixes theology and poetry in a really beautiful way that helps me appreciate both all the more.I’m not going to try interpreting the poem here – bring to it what you will.

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