It’s fair to say that I am a fan of what my writing workshop instructor cautiously termed “strong verbs,” (she didn’t like my writing, but wanted to say something encouraging).
Words can evoke a visceral response in the same way a simple whiff of (fill-in-the-blank) floods the mind with childhood memories… right now I am conjuring up the smell of crayons, peppermint Chiclets gum from the bank, of Fels-Naptha soap, and a cigar box of writhing, doomed earthworms waiting to bait some fat perch.
The words for this time of year are powerful too. Darkness. Brokenness. Cold. Despair. Hope. Joy. Salvation. These last three are worth dwelling on.
Last night we hunted the comet 46P/Wirtanen slowly cruising way out in the outer black void of space, tucked in a lane between Taurus and the Pleiades. It’s always a wonder to look upon something 7 million miles above and know what you’re seeing- in this case, a fuzzy, Christmas-green ball decorating the twinkling night sky. I love comets for their predictability and promise of return, knowing that people long dead and those not yet born have seen, or will see what I see. Comets, like sunrises, and tidal ebbs and flows, and spring hounding the heels of winter make us hopeful that the world will go on.
Last night, the darkness could not hide the light of the moon, stars and comet. The cold could not penetrate the happy warmth of stargazing. The despairing news of the week could not harden a seeking heart set on hope and joy. Because, of course, it is the season we celebrate the best news of all. God come down from the heavens, heralded by a star to light the world with Wisdom that bids us seek the Lord while He can be found. It’s the same Light that split the silence and the temple curtain when mercy begot grace, and sacrifice rebirthed an inheritance long rejected. Like the crisp night sky of winter, it can fill you with wonder. Because He is called Wonderful. Everlasting. The Prince of Peace.
Wishing you and yours a Christmas of wonder, light, joy, peace, and the resurrection of the Word in your hearts.
Photo credit: S. Zetterberg