John Heaton (jheaton) wrote,
John Heaton

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Advent 2009: We stand with eyes toward the east

This is a reading from the Unitarian Universalist hymnal, written by one Edward L. Ericson. Who is Edward L. Ericson? He's a past president of the American Ethical Union, a former leader of the New York Society of Ethical Culture, author of The Humanist Way: An Introduction to Ethical Humanist Religion: in short, the prototypical secular humanist. Not the kind of person you'd expect to find writing about stars rising in the east and love becoming flesh. And yet here he is, doing so quite beautifully. "The discovery of fact in the garment of legend"—I love that! So much of the what we know about the nativity is legend at best: it probably wasn't in December; it's highly unlikely snow was falling; the magi didn't arrive in Bethlehem until later. But so what? Just because something didn't happen doesn't mean it isn't true.

We stand with eyes toward the east

We stand with eyes toward the east,
Awaiting the rising of the star,
And pray that love shall become flesh
And dwell among us;
And that compassion shall be born in human hearts.

We celebrate the discovery of fact
In the garment of legend.

Let every cradle be visited by the three
Good kings of Faith, Hope and Love.

Then Christmas is with us always,
And every birth is the birth of God among us,
And every child is the Christ Child,
And every song is the song of angels.

To celebrate Christmas is to attest
The power of love to remake humankind.
May we be renewed in the love which can save the world.

Edward L. Ericson

Previous Advent posts:

2003: A Hymn of the Nativity
2004: Madonna and Child on a Curved Throne
2005: A merry Christmas
2006: Joseph
2007: Madonna and Child
2008: This Little Babe

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