Winter Wasteland (Carols)


This is part of a series of prayers through Isaiah 7:14 for those who feel that they cannot celebrate the Advent season (Intro, Carols, Pretensions, Immanuel).

You ask too much of us.

          “Let nothing you despair.”
          “Comfort and joy.”
          “God and sinners reconciled.”
          “Let every heart prepare him room.”
          “Let loving hearts enthrone him.”
          “Sing in exultation.”
          “Born this happy morning.”
          “The little Lord Jesus,
          No crying he makes.”

We would sing gladly
          if we could mean it.
We would pray
          if you would answer.
We might rejoice
          if you cried.
We would ask
          if you weren’t doing other things with other people.
We would knock
          if you didn’t have other company
          —more faithful company.
We would seek and bother and annoy
          if we thought you acted.
We would believe you care,
          but we both know why that’s not possible.

Bid us the mercy
                    and courage
                    to linger unfinished
                    in our carols:

          “Descend to us, we pray.”
          “That mourns in lonely exile here.”
          “In sin and error pining.”
          “Sins and sorrows grow.”
          “Far as the curse is found.”
          “Fails my heart, I know not how;
          I can go no longer.”

“Silent night.”
          Yes. Silent day.
          Silent week.
          Silent month.
          Silent year.
          You’re par for the course.

Only you can make these words take root:
     Do not let our dissatisfaction with you rule us.
     Make a fool of our stubborn despair.
          Don’t hate us.
          Don’t leave us. . .
          But don’t ask us for what
          you have already taken.

How could you possibly restore our hope?
What hand could you play that would beat our doubt?

“Therefore, the Lord himself
will give you a sign.”

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