Two things struck me from today’s reading: firstly the word “Behold!” and secondly the insight that “poetry has a profound capacity to play with time and space”.
It is perhaps the latter that draws me to poetry during Advent especially. Advent is, more than any other season, a period when time and space seem to move differently. From the patriarchs, through the anticipated birth of Jesus, to the second coming of the Christ, the whole narrative of salvation seems to telescope in on itself in these few weeks, full of juxtapositions which might illuminate, or disturb, or help us to re-examine our assumptions. In Advent, time and space seem to dance around each other in new ways as the now-and-not-yet of the Kingdom plays with the once-and-forever of the incarnation. It is a dancing playfulness which cannot possibly be pinned down in prose, and so we turn to poetry.
Perhaps poetry is also an Advent companion which will help us to “behold” – not just in the sense of seeing, but of grasping, delving into, allowing ourselves to be caught up in something greater than ourselves. “Open our eyes to behold your presence” we pray at Morning Prayer during Advent. It is a time to look, to watch, to notice the signs of God around us and within us, and to be drawn more fully into the presence of God.
As we take up the invitation to join the playful, poetic dance of time and space this Advent season, I wonder what we will behold? I wonder how we will allow what we behold to grasp us, change us, draw us further into God’s unending movement?
This year for #AdventBookClub a group of us are reading “In The Bleak Midwinter” by Rachel Mann. Join us on Facebook or Twitter for daily reflections and discussions. We are also raising money for the Trussell Trust: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/adventbookclub2019.