I am finding much solace in the beautiful old hymn, Lo, How a Rose E 'er Blooming. If you had asked me about this hymn prior to this week, you would have heard me say, "No, I don't care for it. It is kind of hard to sing." That response, of course, is akin to hearing a lovely chamber piece and shrugging it off with a response of, "Well, it is a little slow."
As our news continues to be be crowded with questions, statements, and various posturings (some quite pompous) concerning the tragedy in Newtown, I cannot help but think it is too early for all of that. What we are crowding out is the profound experience of mourning. We are not letting the seemingly deep emptiness be. We are trying desperately to take the easy way out because otherwise we hurt. We hear the the psalmists and prophets warning us that a life in God is not always easy. Those ancient echos scare us. We want the easy. We want God to pick up the pace.
The time for analysis and making changes will always arrive. However, that is not what we are really yearning for. We are waiting for a new rose of life. It is already within us: fragile, and stunningly beautiful. Let us courageously wait for this tender bloom in hope, and receive it in love. May all who mourn know that we are waiting with them; they are not alone. We may be frightened, but we will not run.
Emmanuel. God is with us. Alleluias will return. However, for now, we light Advent candles to ward off the chill, and we wait.
Lo, how a Rose e'er blooming
from tender stem hath sprung!
Of Jesse's lineage coming,
as those of old have sung.
It came, a floweret bright,
amid the cold of winter
when half spent was the night.