Each winter as the year grows older, we all grow older too. The chill sets in a little colder; the verities I knew seem shaken and untrue. / When race and class cry out for treason, when sirens call for war, they overshout the voice of reason, and scream till we ignore all we held dear before./ But I believe beyond believing, that life can spring from death; that growth can flower from our grieving; that we can catch our breath and turn transfixed by faith. / So even as the sun is turning to journey to the north, the living flame in secret burning, can kindel on the earth, and bring God’s love to birth. / O Child of estascy and sorrows, O Child of peace and pain, brighten today’s world by tomorrow’s renew our lives again; Christ Jesus, come and reign! words by William Gay
On Sunday, one of our elders gifted me with a conversation about the experience of aging. She had read a striking article that confirmed her sense that old age as a wonderful time of life. She acknowledged that, yes, it is hard to face the physical challenges of aging. And, yes, it is terrible to lose a spouse and countless other loved ones. And yet, she mused, for the first time in her life, she was free. She could do whatever she wanted to do with her days.
The Advent hymn I quote here isn’t well-known, but I love it. Life in this world confronts us continually with hard truths and real fears, but it also offers joy and delight at surprising times and in unexpected places. Where, in this season of your life, do you see “the living flame in secret burning”?