Earth grown old, yet still so green,
Deep beneath her crust of cold
Nurses fire unfelt, unseen:
Earth grown old.
We who live are quickly told:
Millions more lie hid between
Inner swathings of her fold.
When will fire break up her screen?
When will life burst thro’ her mould?
Earth, earth, earth, thy cold is keen,
Earth grown old.
-Christina Rossetti, 19th century
Winter has long been lifted up as a symbol of Christ’s tomb, covering the life hidden in the ground. I personally love this image, because the truth is that if we rush winter, everything gets thrown off in creation. This season has its good purpose, whether we like it or not.
And that period waiting for Christ to be born had its purpose, too. As did that season waiting for Christ to rise from the tomb. The lessons of life are usually made in the in-between moments, even if we only realize them after the fact.
Rossetti reminds us that the “earth is old.” The earth is wise. It knows how to do this. And so, in moments of deep frustration when it feels like the goodness is buried deep in the world, we must remember that God is older than old, wiser than wise, and that God knows how to cause life to happen once again.
Hold on to that hope today.
- Go for a walk outside. What do you notice in this winter that gives you hope?
- Take a moment to think on the days when you learned great lessons buried deep under what looked like wasted days. Give thanks to God for those moments today.
Let us pray. Gracious one, like a seed you were buried in Mary’s womb and the garden’s tomb. Remind us that goodness, though buried, remains ready to spring forth, and that we must be aware, awake in these Advent days, pointing to that hope, ready to reward its blooming. Amen.
All italicized quotes, poems, and prayers come from An Advent Sourcebook (Liturgy Training Publications/Chicago, IL, 1986).