Further up and further in

Advent Poetry and the Cosmos

I’m not sure when I started collecting Advent poetry, but it’s been going on for a long time, and discovering, reading and re-reading this very special kind of written art brings me a lot of comfort, joy and peace – all nice feelings to have around Advent and Christmastime.

Advent poetry can range from happy and anticipatory to poignant and full of deep meaning. Here’s one of those poignant poems –

Looking toward Christmas, by Caryl Porter

Advent again,
and the very stones are silent.

In the east, no star;
only shadows
and the threat of darkness.
We have run out of light,
and we wait in fear.


from the cosmic distance,
tentacles of brilliance probe,
seek us out, look for a dwelling place
among us.

I just finished reading Origin by Dan Brown (of Da Vinci Code fame), and his premise in this latest best-seller is that a brilliant scientist has discovered something so incredible about the origins of the human race that all religions everywhere will be totally discredited. The threat that this discovery might be made public, causes all kinds of mayhem and violence. But – if I read the book correctly – this big discovery is that life did not originate on earth.

Well – I’m not sure that is a discovery that would make all folk who believe in God run screaming into the night. As the poem above illustrates, brilliance from a “cosmic distance” reaching out to us and looking for a dwelling place is, perhaps, not an everyday occurrence, but for God – not such a stretch.

I’m thinking that Dan Brown’s God (or the God of that scientist in the novel) is way too small. Read the poem again and think about the power and majesty and loving concern implied by those “tentacles of brilliance” seeking us out and wanting to dwell among us.” This is a God portrayed by human beings in story and song and bible verse, as best they can. But God is not limited to those small, very human descriptions. God is God – not jut of earth, but of the universe in all its expanse and variety. And at Advent – we prepare for the brilliant coming of that God.


Posted by Mattie Gustafson with