Winter Wasteland (Immanuel)

prayers, Theology

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).

“Chains he shall break, for the slave is our brother.
And in his name all oppression shall cease.”

We reel
        and falter
        and wander
        and forget
        and take revenge
        and write them off
        and lose heart
        and “Get the hell out of my life.”

We hear many sneaking,
                                creeping voices
                                in the first person:

Our pain is too intricate
                                for your care.
Our mistakes say too much about us
                                for your love
                                —your real, approving love.
Our consequences are too permanent
                                for your power.
Our regret goes deeper
                                than your reach.
Our trauma is beyond us,
                                and you.

And you.

Never unsettled?
Never surprised?
Never too late?

No. We refuse that “Thou.”

Unsettle yourself
                        and us.
Surprise yourself
                        and us.
Swoop in
                        for us
                        against our calamitous impulses,
                        beside our bewitching habits,
                        in spite of all our “too lates,”
                        before and around, guiding our “if onlys.”

We struggle,
                        and at times hate
                        (and at times love)
                                to admit
                        our situation with you:
                        Your Name.

We “shall call his name Immanuel.”