Monday, December 2, 2013

Ironic Advent Meditation #2: This Advent Darkness

 This Advent Darkness

When he was a kid, Noel used to say, 
"Turn out the light, for I cannot see where I am going." 
I always thought that was absurdly funny. 
Now I know he was preaching. 

So, take heed my friends, this will be dark.
Dark like David Dark or Donnie Darko. Darker than these, if such a dark there be.

But it need not be gloomy, depressing, or vampirish, need it?
Indeed, it need not.

This hit me today, like an ocean full of bowling balls,
which happens to be the name of the new old Salinger story,
leaked on Thanksgiving Day.
Let us all  pray someday to have a leak that lovely.

Until then, into this Advent darkness.

And all I mean, of course, is this and nothing more.
No more Advent Candles.
No, no more liturgical shine to beat the darkness of the bleak near winter.

Waxy symbols of hopeful light in the wretched dark
worked well in, say, 1380 or so--
Plague rats ravaging the world,
the bitter cold of wind and snow a gift
compared to the harsh hell of the everyday lot of the fittest who survived.

It was dark, you see (or not). Very and a lot. And that symbolized something, a world say, that had lost its glow
as the story goes,
or needed one, at least, whatever story you swallow.

But look around, dear friends.
We are lit up, glitzed up, talked up, drugged up, noised, brighted, Xmased, Walmarted, TV’d, neoned, garished, garnished,
fully freaking lit up, I said.

Perhaps, absurdly, in inverse proportion to our bliss.
But, I’m not getting into that now. I promised not to get all gloomy tonight.
Although, I have that Salinger story in my head. . . .

Truth is, it is so bright, I hardly see the sky.
So loud, I couldn’t hear Lo he comes with clouds descending,
if an impossible angel came down and did her best Rihanna
to make me mind.
So full of Xmas cheeriness, too numb to do the math and solve for X anyway.

So, since I love liturgy almost as much as I love tofu,
I propose to save the world one uncandled moment at a time,
and, making ritual out of necessity, flip our cold bright world
backwards like some real estate in Houston—

which is to say, obviously, that, starting yesterday
(I can do that, that's why they call it creative writing),
in our churches, in our homes,
and, especially, in our prisons and our hospitals,
I mean our hearts,
we will put out one candle,
turn off one light,
click off one television,
shut down one shopping mall,
shoot down one red-nosed reindeer,
delete on selfie from Facebook,
and so on and so forth,
world without end
until we achieve the complete Advent darkness necessary
to wait.

If sometimes a light surprises, call me a genius
(and reward me by buying my book of last year’s Ironic Advent Meditations when I didn’t have this great idea but sure as hell had some other great ones).
If nothing happens, no big deal.
It won’t  be much different than most liturgical symbols.
I mean, it’s not like something happens on Xmas day,
peace on earth, etc.,
except yet more liturgical symbols which have been pointed to
by previous liturgical symbols.
And presents, of course. And cranberries.

But, like I said, maybe this year will be different.
No candles, no bright lights, no selfies, no televisions,
no day after sales, probably no plague rats.
Just the real darkness and you, I mean us, 

For Rihanna, or for a baby, or to see the stars and really, I mean really, attend to those dear bright things whether they prophesy or not.
Or maybe you will sing something that means something special to you
like Noel Noel, and it will feel like the first Noel,
or, drum roll, you will start to glow 
(which,I think we can agree, is the only point of anything anyway)
inside your heart
I mean a prison,
or a hospital. 
Then it will be something like Christmas.  



  1. You know how sometimes you'll press on a sore spot, a bruise, a knot in your shoulder, a tender tooth, just to test whether it's still there? And it is, and the feeling it both painful and a strange relief somehow?

    That's what reading this is like, and that is meant as some kind of compliment.

  2. He doesn't often come when I hope He will.
    Sometimes He comes when I don't have any more hope.
    But if He only shows up once...

  3. this year is different, god took our Noel, such a greedy god