Compiled by Brittany Callendar & Emily Ling
There was not long to wait now before the drama would begin – the curtain was trembling to its rise. The twilight of the early winter morning, the piercing sweetness of the voices rising in the still air, the tune and the words she loved well, “Christians, awake, salute the happy morn!” Then heaven would open. Phyllis Sandeman, Treasure on Earth
An invasion of holiness. That is what Advent is about. Frederick Buechner, Listening to your Life
Love came down at Christmas,
Love all lovely, love divine;
Love was born at Christmas,
Star and angels gave the sign.
Worship we the Godhead,
Love incarnate, love divine;
Worship we our Jesus:
But wherewith for sacred sign?
Love shall be our token,
Love shall be yours and love be mine,
Love to God and to all men,
Love for plea and gift and sign.
Christina G. Rossetti, “Love came down at Christmas”
The nativity is a time to take courage. How brave am I. Can I bear, without breaking apart, this extraordinary birth? The end is the beginning. We have come to the shortest day, the longest night of the year. Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat… We have to be braver than we think we can be, because God is constantly calling us to be more than we are. Madeleine L’Engle
It is true that we cannot be happy unless we love, so it is worth making every effort to love. Dorothy Day
We have before us the glorious opportunity to inject a new dimension of love into the veins of our civilization. There is still a voice crying out in terms that echo across the generations, saying: Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, pray for them that despitefully use you, that you may be the children of your Father which is in Heaven. This love might well be the salvation of our civilization…
Now I realize that in talking so much about love it is very easy to become sentimental. There is the danger that our talk about love will merely be empty words devoid of any practical and true meaning. But when I say love those who oppose you I am not speaking of love in a sentimental or affectionate sense.. The Greek language comes out with another word which is the highest level of love. It speaks of it in terms of agape. Agape means nothing sentimental or basically affectionate. It means understanding redeeming good will for all men. It is an overflowing love which seeks nothing in return. It is the love of God working in the lives of men. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Into this world, this demented inn, in which there is absolutely no room for him at all, Christ has come uninvited. But because he cannot be at home in it, because he is out of place in it, and yet he must be in it, his place is with those others for whom there is no room. His place is with those who do not belong, who are rejected by power because they are regarded as weak, those who are discredited, who are denied the status of persons, tortured, exterminated. With those for whom there is no room, Christ is present in this world. Thomas Merton
Love comes quietly, finally, drops about me, on me,
in the old ways.
What did I know
able to go
alone all the way.
Robert Creeley, “love comes quietly”
The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. Galatians 5:6
He will remake us… He always has and He
It is true– blessed be His name– thank you God.
God breathes through us so completely…
so gently we hardly feel it…yet,
it is our everything.
Thank you God.
All from God.
Thank you God. Amen.
John Coltrane, A Love Supreme liner notes
God is behind all things, but all things hide God. Things are black, creatures are opaque. To love a being is to render her transparent. Victor Hugo, Les Miserables
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of the vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
and provide for those who grieve in Zion –
to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.
So God was god of old:
A mother came to mould
Those limbs like ours which are
What must make our daystar
Much dearer to mankind;
Whose glory bare would blind
Or less would win man’s mind.
Through her we may see him
Made sweeter, not made dim,
And her hand leaves his light
Sifted to suit our sight.
Be thou then, O thou dear
Mother, my atmosphere;
My happier world, wherein
To wend and meet no sin;
Above me, round me lie
Fronting my forward eye
With sweet and scarless sky;
Stir in my ears, speak there
Of God’s love, O live air,
Of patience, penance, prayer:
World-mothering air, air wild,
Wound with thee, in thee isled,
Fold home, fast fold thy child.
Gerard May Hopkins, “The Blessed Virgin Compared to The Air We Breathe”
Love. That was what she had that IT did not have. Madeleine L’Engle, A Wrinkle in Time
And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins. Matthew 1:20-21
It was wintertime.
The wind was blowing from the plains.
And the infant was cold in the cave
On the slope of a hill.
He was warmed by the breath of an ox.
Every farmyard beast
Huddled safe in the cave;
A warm mist drifted over the manger.
On a rock afar some drowsy shepherds
Shook off the wisps of straw
And hayseed of their beds,
And sleepily gazed into the vast of night.
They saw gravestones, fences, fields,
The shafts of a cart
Deep in drifted snows,
And a sky of stars above the graveyard.
And, shyer than a watchman’s light,
One star alone
Unseen until then
Shone bright on the way to Bethlehem.
At times it rose, a haystack aflame,
Apart from God and the sky,
Like a barn set on fire,
Like a farmstead ablaze in the night.
It reared in the sky like a flaming stack
Of thatch and hay,
In the midst of Creation
Surprised by this new star in the world.
The flame grew steadily deeper, wider,
Large as a portent
Three stargazers then
Hastened to follow this marvelous light.
And all new matters of ages to come
Arose as a vision of wonder in space.
All thoughts of ages, all dreams, new worlds,
All the futures of galleries and museums,
All the games of fairies, the work of inventors,
The yule trees, and the dreams all children dream,
The tremulous glow of candles in rows,
The gold and silver of angels and globes
And the splendor of tinsel and toys under trees.
Boris Pasternak, The poems of Doctor Zhivago
The birth of Jesus made possible not just a new way of understanding life but a new way of living it. Frederick Buechner
You could more easily catch a hurricane in a shrimp net than you can understand the wild, relentless, passionate, uncompromising, pursuing love of God made present in the manger. Brennan Manning
“Fair Sir,” said Tirian to the High King, “this is a great marvel.”
“It is the door you came through with that Calormene five minutes ago,” said Peter, smiling.
“But did I not come in out of the wood into the Stable? Whereas this seems to be a door leading from nowhere to nowhere.”
“It looks like that if you walk round it,” said Peter. “But put your eye to that place where there is a crack between two of the planks and look through” …
He looked round again and could hardly believe his eyes. There was the blue sky overhead, and grassy country spreading as far as he could see in every direction, and his new friends all round him, laughing.
“It seems, then,” said Tirian, smiling himself, “that the Stable seen from within and the Stable seen from without are two different places.”
“Yes,” said Lord Digory. “Its inside is bigger than its outside.”
“Yes,” said Queen Lucy. “In our world too, a Stable once had something inside it that was bigger than our whole world.” C.S. Lewis, The Last Battle
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14
Suddenly he rubbed his eyes in wonder, and looked and looked. It certainly was a marvelous sight. In the farthest corner of the garden was a tree quite covered with lovely white blossoms. Its branches were all golden, and silver fruit hung down from them, and underneath it stood the little boy he had loved.
Downstairs ran the Giant in great joy, and out into the garden. He hastened across the grass, and came near to the child. And when he came quite close his face grew red with anger, and he said, “Who hath dared to wound thee?” For on the palms of the child's hands were the prints of two nails, and the prints of two nails were on the little feet.
“Who hath dared to wound thee?” cried the Giant; “tell me, that I may take my big sword and slay him.”
“Nay!” answered the child; “but these are the wounds of Love.”
“Who art thou?” said the Giant, and a strange awe fell on him, and he knelt before the little child.
And the child smiled on the Giant, and said to him, “You let me play once in your garden, today you shall come with me to my garden, which is Paradise.” Oscar Wilde, The Selfish Giant
All things are atoned for, all things are saved by love. If I, a sinner even as you are, am tender with you and have pity on you, how much more will God. Love is such a priceless treasure that you can redeem the whole world by it. Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov
Silent night, holy night
Son of God, love's pure light
Radiant beams from Thy holy face
With the dawn of redeeming grace
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth.
Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12
And we will be ready, at the end of every day will be ready, will not say no to anything, will try to stay awake while everyone is sleeping, will not sleep, will make the shoes with the elves, will breathe deeply all the time, breathe in all the air full of glass and nails and blood, will breathe it and drink it, so rich, so when it comes we will not be angry, will be content, tired enough to go, gratefully, will shake hands with everyone, bye, bye, and then pack a bag, some snacks, and go to the volcano. Dave Eggers, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
When death comes like the hungry bear in autumn;
when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse to buy me,
and snaps the purse shut;
when death comes
like the measles-pox;
when death comes
like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,
I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering:
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?
And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,
and I think of each life as a flower, as common
as a field daisy, and as singular,
and each name a comfortable music in the mouth
tending as all music does, toward silence,
and each body a lion of courage, and something
precious to the earth.
When it’s over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.
When it is over, I don’t want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.
I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.