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Advent Wreath

by Susan Russell

Madeleine L’Engle is one of my all time favorites. From “A Wrinkle in Time” — which I read for the first time as a young person when it was published in 1962 — to all her “Crosswicks Journals” to… well, virtually everything she ever wrote. I had the privilege of attending a writer’s workshop she led at Mt. Calvary in Santa Barbara many moons ago — and it remains in my mind one of the most fruitful, inspiring weekends ever.

If you’re not familiar with her work, Madeline L’Engle was an award winning author, actress and Episcopalian. She famously wrote “All will be redeemed in God’s fullness of time — all. Not just the small portion of the population who have been given the grace to know and accept Christ” — earning the label “Christian Universalist.” As a result many Christian bookstores refused to carry her books — which were frequently banned from Christian schools and libraries. Meanwhile, some of her secular critics attacked her work for being too religious. I think she’d have fit right in here at All Saints Church.

I always re-read her “The Irrational Season” at the beginning of Advent and this poem from the book is one of my favorites. I hope it will become one of yours.

First Coming
by Madeleine L’Engle

He did not wait till the world was ready,
till men and nations were at peace.
He came when the Heavens were unsteady,
and prisoners cried out for release.

He did not wait for the perfect time.
He came when the need was deep and great.
He dined with sinners in all their grime,
turned water into wine.

He did not wait till hearts were pure.
In joy he came to a tarnished world of sin and doubt.
To a world like ours, of anguished shame
he came, and his Light would not go out.

He came to a world which did not mesh,
to heal its tangles, shield its scorn.
In the mystery of the Word made Flesh
the Maker of the stars was born.

We cannot wait till the world is sane
to raise our songs with joyful voice,
for to share our grief, to touch our pain,
He came with Love: Rejoice! Rejoice!