second sunday of advent

here’s the thing about God:
when He says, “the kingdom is near,”
we don’t expect (or want) it
to be prefaced by a “repent, for”
because we hear “kingdom”
and hear not poverty of spirit,
but flares and trumpets and glory,
the construction of an abiding city,
and, well, that’s what we get…

but.

He builds up a city of outcasts and oddballs–
a camel-wearing, locust-eating hermit shouts aloud
the coming of a carpenter king,
the teachers of the people go mute,
old ladies have babies,
virgins tell their fiances, “honey, i’m pregnant.”

not quite what we were expecting.

and He uproots the trees of our self-righteousness,
fills in the low valleys of our self-pity,
and cuts down the mountains of self-exaltation,
to make straight His own highway,
to prepare a way into our hearts–
He builds a kingdom by tearing down.

not quite what we were thinking of.

but His ways aren’t like ours,
His thoughts are not our thoughts–
the old give birth to voice,
the young bring forth a Word,
the kingdom comes out to the wilderness.

and when it comes,
heaven opens,
the Father shines His face on us,
the Son is lit with glory,
the Spirit comes in peace like a dove.

not anything we could imagine,
but everything we need.

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