Many of you will no doubt mark Advent by opening day by day the windows of an Advent calendar. There may be a picture, or a verse of scripture or even a piece of chocolate behind each window. Each day contains a small surprise.
Rowan Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury, wrote this lovely poem entitled Advent Calendar:
He will come like last leaf’s fall.
One night when the November wind
has flayed the trees to bone, and earth
wakes choking on the mould,
the soft shroud’s folding.
He will come like frost.
One morning when the shrinking earth
opens on mist, to find itself
arrested in the net
of alien, sword-set beauty.
He will come like dark.
One evening when the bursting red
December sun draws up the sheet
and penny-masks its eye to yield
the star-snowed fields of sky.
He will come, will come,
will come like crying in the night,
like blood, like breaking,
as the earth writhes to toss him free.
He will come like child.
I wonder how Christ will come to you each day during Advent as you embark on your journey through to Christmas? The poem always takes me by surprise, arising as it does from the cold autumns of our particular location and filling them with hints of pain, difficulty, struggle and death while also yielding a calm, cold beauty within a surprising softness. May the God of surprises come to you each day and and may you welcome Him as you would welcome a child.