Advent: Angels

“…for who can endure the day of his coming?”

Malachi 3:2

angel

When an angel
snapped the old thin threads of speech
with an untimely birth announcement,
slit the seemly cloth of an even more blessed
event with shears of miracle,
invaded the privacy of a dream, multiplied
to ravage the dark silk of the sky,
the innocent ears, with swords of sound:
news in a new dimension demanded
qualification. The righteous were
as vulnerable as others. They trembled
for those strong antecedent Fear nots,
whether goatherds, virgins, workers
in wood, or holy barren priests.

In our nights
our complicated modern dreams
rarely flower into visions. No contemporary
Gabriel dumbfounds our worship,
or burning, visits our bedrooms.
No signposts satellite hauls us, earthbound
but star-struck, half around the world
with hope. Are our sensibilities too blunt
to be assaulted with spatial power-plays
and far-out proclamations of peace?
Sterile, skeptics, yet we may be broken
to his slow, silent birth, his beginning
new in us. His big-ness may still burst
our self-containment to tell us,
without angels’ mouths, Fear not.

God knows we need to hear it, now,
when he may shatter, with his most shocking
coming, this proud, cracked place,
and more if, for longer waiting,
he does not.

— from Accompanied by Angels: Poems of the Incarnation by Luci Shaw

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