An Advent Prayer

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Dear God of Mary and Joseph
of Elizabeth and Zachariah
            and Jesus born in a manger

we’ve entered the season
            of hope & peace & joy & love
when you seem bent on showing us
your willingness to do the impossible
when we read again
            the lion lying down with the lamb
            led by a child
when we sing with Mary
            the lowly lifted up
            the hungry filled with good things
            the rich sent empty away

and we feel these things resonate
with the deepest part of our being
as being true, true
            so absolutely incontrovertibly true
although we have yet to see them take place

Our belief in you
            our willingness to continue along this path
keeps us on the very edge
            of the joy
            that is in the vision of the prophets
                        and the gospel writers
even as present realities
            might seem to say we are fools

There are so many people who hurt, O Lord
There are so many who grieve
There is war. Corruption. Greed. Calamity

The rich are lying down with the wolf
The lowly are being sent empty away
and the little child is hungry

We have no words
for all the ways
things are wrong in the world

What we have
are people quietly helping
doing the impossible
in your name
and places in the world, where
without fanfare
            the impossible has taken place
            and is
           
What we have is a faith
that does not prevent us from walking into walls
or keep us from troubles
faith that is not certainty
but trust
trust
            that has well-springs in Scripture
            and is born of our experience
of your love and benevolence
            toward us

trust that keeps us
            putting one foot in front of the other
as we continue this slow trek to Bethlehem
to enter again the peace and profoundness
            and impossibility
of your stable birth

with nothing but the clothes on our backs

            and our hearts split wide open

About the Author

John Terpstra is a poet and carpenter who lives in Hamilton, Ontario. His latest (non-fiction) book is called The House with the Parapet Wall.

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