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Posts from the ‘Advent’ Category

Pursued by the Word

Advent wreath

Blessed Lord, who has caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning; Grant that we may in such wise hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that by patience and comfort of thy holy Word, we may embrace, and ever hold fast, the blessed hope of everlasting life, which thou hast given us in our Saviour Jesus Christ.


Book of Common Prayer, 1928.





As a child, books were my safe place. My place to hope, to dream. My window seat into other worlds. My unscrambling place. My place to imagine life in fresh ways. My place to confront the impossible and see the possible. My place of pursuing life.

1 Books

Books are still that for me…a place of invitation: get unstuck, untangle what’s tangled. See afresh. Laugh. Weep. Travel forth. These characters look oh-so-similar to me.


A good book (fiction, nonfiction, poetry, prose) is a mirror. Shows me what I didn’t even know was there. A good book disrupts my comfort zone, even while it’s a safe haven. A good book dismantles barricades. Barriers that distant me from desire, from hope, from dreams. A good book grabs me. Hugs me so tight that tears cascade, stinging down my sobbing face. Hugs me so profoundly that I laugh way down deep.

2 Books

A good book invites me to be more fully alive.



 Snow hydrangeas

Enough sorrows to sink me

Enough joys to keep me buoyant

And the God-of-Angel-Armies ever at my side.


That’s the epitaph of this year for me.


Enough tears to hollow caverns of sorrow in me. Enough joys to lift me from those carved canyons of sorrow. Always, always, in it all, the God who is Present, Father, Son, Spirit, ever by my side.


I’ve run to books often in this up-and down-year. I’ve poured over prose. I’ve played alongside poetry. I’ve reread books from my childhood. I’ve discovered children’s literature I’d missed along the way. I’ve returned to familiar authors. I’ve read books as new as the dew. I’ve read books enjoyed over generations.


Story mesmerized and healed me.

3 Books



So here in Advent’s waiting, as a new year begins, as I wait and wait for that celebration, for that Baby to be born again in my heart, I read still. I read the familiar yet ever new Collect for the Second Sunday in Advent  from the 1928 Book of Common Prayer. It’s fresh and old. A prayer that savors the holy Word.


Holy Scriptures.

Written for our learning.

Hear them.

Read them.

Mark them.

Learn them.

Inwardly digest them.

Contents of Bible

Thy Holy Word.

Woven with






Holy Word

Inwardly digested

Nourishment of




Holy Word.

Number One

Book of the Year


My heart.


Here in Your Word,

We’ve talked.

I’ve listened.

I’ve watched.

I’ve learned.


Here with You,





I’ve entered in



Adam naming

Eve companioning

Those two straying

You still pursuing







Believing and doubting

Wrestling and aching

Keeping heart open

Even in

Face of


You still pursuing



Veins of emotions











You still pursuing


Gabriel announcing

While holding his breath for

The young girl’s answer.

Mary and her Yes

Even when it all

Looks mighty impossible

You still pursuing


Enemy tactics





Put on the armor

You still pursuing.



Life full

Full life


Younger son

Elder son

Prodigals alike

In ways


Father sees.


Second touch

Healing’s not instant

Just ask the blind man

Or Lazarus.


Holy Spirit


On fire

You still pursuing


I read it forward.

Genesis to Revelation.

I read it backward.

Revelation to Genesis.

Either route,

Your Story


Everlastingly long.

And always,

It ends,

At a Wedding Feast.

You still pursuing.




Enough sorrows to sink me

Enough joys to keep me buoyant

And the God-of-Angel-Armies ever at my side.

Lights out of focus

Father, Son, Spirit, thank You for the Word written, for the Word Incarnate, the Word alive in this Story that is ever true and ever full of Your heart for me.


You still pursuing.


A never-ending Love Story.




You Still Pursuing





© Lane M. Arnold, 2013



Advent: Listening to our Longings

Advent invites me to listen to my longings…to ponder afresh what I long for in the appearing of Emmanuel, God with us.

Join me as we listen to the longings that arise as we savor this piano/cello rendition of O Come, O Come Emmanuel.


Click on the title below (in blue link) to hear the music and see the youtube video.


O Come, O Come Emmanuel


O come, O come, Emmanuel,
and ransom captive Israel,
that mourns in lonely exile here
until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, thou Wisdom from on high,
who orderest all things mightily;
to us the path of knowledge show,
and teach us in her ways to go. Refrain

O come, thou Rod of Jesse, free
thine own from Satan’s tyranny;
from depths of hell thy people save,
and give them victory over the grave. Refrain

O come, thou Dayspring, come and cheer
our spirits by thine advent here;
disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
and death’s dark shadows put to flight. Refrain

O come, thou Key of David, come,
and open wide our heavenly home;
make safe the way that leads on high,
and close the path to misery. Refrain

O come, O come, great Lord of might,
who to thy tribes on Sinai’s height
in ancient times once gave the law
in cloud and majesty and awe. Refrain

O come, thou Root of Jesse’s tree,
an ensign of thy people be;
before thee rulers silent fall;
all peoples on thy mercy call. Refrain

O come, Desire of nations, bind
in one the hearts of all mankind;
bid thou our sad divisions cease,
and be thyself our King of Peace. Refrain

O come, O come, Emmanuel,
and ransom captive Israel,
that mourns in lonely exile here
until the Son of God appear. Refrain

translated by John Mason Neale

Advent: Watching for the Incognito


Red and white nature


“We may ignore, but we can nowhere evade, the presence of God. The world is crowded with Him. He walks everywhere incognito. And the incognito is not always hard to penetrate. The real labour is to remember, to attend. In fact, to come awake. Still more to remain awake.”

            (C. S. Lewis, Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer, Harcourt, Inc., 1964, p. 75)



During Advent, we wait and watch.

Watching requires being alert.

Being alert means I notice.

I notice what is happening around me and within me.

I pay attention to the Presence of God in the ordinary moments of this day.

God, this Advent, may I notice Your heart. May I notice my heart.

Keep me alert.

Keep me awake.

Keep me aware of Your incognito Presence.

© Lane M. Arnold, 2013

Advent’s First Sunday

The First Sunday in Advent


The Collect. 1928 The Book of Common Prayer

Almighty God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the armour of light, now in the time of this mortal life, in which thy Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the quick and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal, through him who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, now and ever. Amen.

This Collect is to be repeated every day, after the other Collects in Advent, until Christmas Day.



Grace to be aware of Grace.

 Grace to banish the works of darkness.

 Light to be aware of Light.

 Light to armor against the darkness.

Grace and Light now





Grace and Light




shall come





Armor of

Grace and Light

‘Round my







Lane M. Arnold

Keeping Your O

I’m one who savors the season of Advent and Christmas. I love the quiet holiness that can accompany this season. I delight in the many hymns of Christmas. This morning, when I rolled out of bed, I was humming the tune to

O Come, O Come Emmanuel.


“O Come, Thou Wisdom, from on high,

And order all things far and nigh;

To us the path of knowledge show,

And teach us in her ways to go.


Rejoice! Rejoice!

Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.”


How odd to have that hymn as the first thing on my heart as I arose. Then I remembered why. Last night I’d been reading about the O Antiphon days. This morning is their beginning.

The O Antiphons are used in liturgical worship through prayer and song from December 17 through December 23. As I understand it, the O Antiphons were the basis for the wonderful hymn I’d been humming. Each of the seven O Antiphons is a title for Jesus that leads us to focus afresh on Him. It’s an Advent tradition I’ve adopted: to ponder Jesus in light of these seven titles. Apparently, it was a tradition in times past as well, even centuries ago.  “Keep your O” became a short catch phrase to remind folks to ponder these various titles, leaning into those characteristics of Christ, as Christmas approached.

In Latin, the seven titles create an acrostic. When each beginning letter is joined from last to first, it reads “Ero Cras,” which translates  “Tomorrow I come.” This reminds us of what Advent is leading up to: The Coming of Christ.

For those among us who, like me, are not versed in Latin, the English translations are:

O Sapientia =       O Wisdom

O Adonai =            O Lord of Israel

O Radix Jesse =    O Root of Jesse

O Clavis David =  O Key of David

O Oriens =             O Dayspring

O Rex Gentium =  O King of the Gentiles

O Emmanuel =     O God with us

So I woke up this morning with O Wisdom on my mind. Lately I’ve been reading through Proverbs, noticing what wisdom is and what wisdom is not. Thinking of the O Wisdom antiphon, I turned to Isaiah 11:2-3 and Isaiah 28:29. The Spirit of Wisdom rests on Jesus; He is magnificent in wisdom. That’s a magnificent thought that leads me to worship Jesus afresh. How appealing. How settling. There are so many questions, so many confusing things, so many ups and downs in any given day. How reassuring to know that there is true wisdom which resides, originates, and comes forth from Jesus. Anything I need to know for living wisely is ever-present in the One who came, and comes, and will come again.

Wouldn’t it be grand to be one who is infused with such wisdom? I’d love for the scent of wisdom to be wafting appealingly through me. What might that look like? How might that come to be?

Wisdom is something we gather as we walk with Jesus, the Wisdom from on high. However it’s not like we gather baskets of wisdom then sit them on the shelf of our intellect and say, “There, I’ve gotten some wisdom.”

Wisdom is rather something we gather from being continually in the Presence of the Holy One, then apply it to our moments as we journey through life. It’s an integrated way of being in relationship with Christ, listening well to Him: my head and my heart woven into a wholesomeness that leans towards holiness. I watch Jesus, listen to Him, and go forth, doing and being likewise. In His Presence, I inhale wisdom.

There’s an orderliness, too, about wisdom coupled with discernment as we choose how to step into more of God. There’s a constancy about wisdom as well. It’s not something I can gain in one moment. It’s about staying close to the Wisdom from on high Himself that garners wisdom’s growth within me. Small constant steps with Christ bring me towards wisdom.

So on this first day of the O Antiphons, I’m thinking about how I’m “keeping my O”…by watching Jesus who is the O Wisdom.


On this first day of the O Antiphons, join me in pondering:

How are you doing on “Keeping your O?”

Where are you leaning well into Wisdom?

Where do you resist?

How might the Wisdom from on High infuse us this day?




Lane M. Arnold

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