category: Poetry

Hope Re-Awakens a Poem for Advent 1B

By Rachael Keefe

Enjoy a stroll through an Advent night with this poem about Hope.

Hope Re-Awakens a Poem for Advent 1B

War darkens the world
more than the length of days
violence, gun shots, fear and hatred
echo through our streets
promising only more of the same

It’s easy to lose hope
when every day the weight of worry
grows heavier and heavier still

To escape all of this
I walk my dog – in the woods,
along the river, on the trails, 
or on the streets of my neighborhood
where the sidewalks end

I pay attention to the hawks,
the eagles, the deer, the fox
and the owl while my dog
keeps track of every squirrel
and rabbit without fail

Everyone once in a while awe
and beauty ignite hope

Then comes December and 
the street lights up – one house
at a time, more each night

The simple electric candles in 
windows and dainty white 
lights on railings
right next to the inflatable
elves and Santas, helicopters and 
mini vans (Santa-driven, of course)  – 
sometimes all in the same yard
with the old-school plastic figures
from Santa and snowmen to the Holy Family
with a too white baby
in the manger too soon
surrounded by plastic sheep and
camels with no lights, shepherds,
choirs of angels, and gift-bearing kings
with paint missing in patches
and sometimes a star that’s
definitely seen better days
Down the road are the giant
bulbs in rainbow colors (the
improper order a bit jarring)
next to lights that drip from 
gutters and snowflakes projected
on the siding, swirling next to
blinking over-sided ornaments

Then there’s the house with 
all the lights in all the colors
blinking, twinkling, sparkling, 
dripping, fading one into another –
a true cacophony of light

We walk by them all, the dog and I,
these simple and fantastic,
sacred and silly – silent 
signals that all hope is 
not lost

Darkness interrupted by chaotic lights,
disjointed décor from one house to another
boldly proclaims the Light
the Light that shines through all things
in every color, every shape, every rhythm
no matter how chaotic – not 
just for December nights,
not just for Christmas this year
or next

These holiday lights – no matter how old,
or how garish - are pleasant, perhaps joyful,
reminders that Hope shines on and on
even when the days are short
and humans hold their weapons
closer than their neighbors
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About Rachael Keefe

Rachael is an author, a pastor, a teacher, and a poet. Her latest book (The Lifesaving Church - Chalice Press) is on faith and suicide prevention. She is currently the pastor of Living Table UCC in Minneapolis, and has launched a spiritual direction practice.

3 thoughts on “Hope Re-Awakens a Poem for Advent 1B”

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