Friday, December 7, 2012

Advent Calendar - Rowan Williams

 Advent Calendar

He will come like last leaf's fall.
One night when the November wind
has flayed trees to bone, and earth
wakes choking on the mould,
the soft shroud's folding.

He will come like the 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.

Rowan Williams

My interpretation ...

The title ... ADVENT CALENDAR ... the reader may at first think this is to do with Christmas and the Christian Calendar ... but what is the most important event in Christianity ... the most important event for one like Rowan Williams who reveres the Christian philosophy and Christianity with such passion? ...... this must be the second coming of Christ.

What will this second coming be like in comparison with the sorry state of the world?

The first 3 Stanzas ...

consider the attributes of a second coming in relation to the normal calendar which we take as inevitable ... i.e. that winter follows Autumn ...

look at the first lines of each of these stanzas ... gently like a fall of a leaf like a deep frost ... at the end of the day like night ... and this will be unexpected

the beautiful wording and metaphors in each of these stanzas mirror against the state of the corrupt and fallen world so absolutely alien to Christ ... how can words be used to compare the fallen world experiencing perfection and beauty ... Rowan finds some magic words ... for example soft shroud's folding / sword-set beauty / star-snowed fields of sky

He will come when he is needed ... when the world hungers and thirsts for his very presence ...

The last stanza brings a dramatic conclusion ...

... he will come ... he will come ... he will come ... this is inevitable just as one day follows the next ... he will come in pain and crying out ... like a pregnancy ... Christ will return (be born) ... like a new born baby ... and the world will breathe delight from the heavens ... the joy of mother and baby (something only a mother can know) ... and again Christmas approaches.

Thought ... perhaps he comes with every child birth.
Footnote ... Rowan Williams ends his term as archbishop of Canterbury at the end of December.

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