a poem for Advent 2020, week 2
The advent of our shame was in the garden where we hid ourselves, clothed ourselves: Shame was our garment. God’s advent to meet us in that shame was to call out, “Where are you?” not— “What have you done?” Grace wanted to meet us, not shame us further. He made us new clothes to soften shame’s blow. But still, it comes in heavy-handed and fierce in story after story, Shame has the final word— or seems to. But then Advent comes again, narrated by Shame: whispered by a community around a woman who said yes, unashamed, full of peace: “May it be as you have said.” Hand in hand, grace seems to point shame out, singling out its judgement, and then says: I’m right here, in the middle of shame. Still I choose to Advent with you, even with your shame. So maybe Advent’s story is that shame doesn’t have the last word anymore. Maybe the story continues: beyond its loud voice, beyond the wringing hands we try to fight it with. Maybe the battle has already Been fought For us, with us: Immanuel's advent. And maybe we can stand up again, throw off the weight of an old story, and say: If this is where he chose to Advent, Then he’ll advent here again: Right in the middle of all my shame. He comes to set the story straight: to stop shame's narrative in my own mind, to still the tears it forces out, and to speak a different word, a new story, over me: Grace. Instead of shame, grace.