advent journal: moving on to love

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When we mark time by the liturgical calendar, we only count and number the four Sundays before Christmas, which means the fourth Sunday—tomorrow—doesn’t have a week to go with it. We have had days to stretch out with hope, peace, and joy, but love get the short shrift, as far as Advent goes. So I decided to start a day early.

My favorite verse of a carol is the third stanza of “It Came Upon A Midnight Clear”:

and ye beneath life’s crushing load whose forms are bending low
who toil along life’s climbing way with painful step and slow

There’s more, but those two lines are the ones that feel most timeless, and the most true. I don’t mean that as a statement of despair, even as I am weighed down by both grief and my depression. I am also aware of the shared grief with many whom I love and the love I feel from those who keep reaching out that is stronger than all of it. The toil and crush are not the final words.

I’ll send you out into the night with a song that has carried me for many years. Andrew Peterson is the songwriter and performer. “After The Last Tear Falls” is the song. I know about it because of my brother.

after the last tear falls, after the last secret’s told
after the last bullet tears through flesh and bone
after the last child starves and the last girl walks the boulevard
after the last year that’s just too hard

there is love—love, love, love
there is love—love, love, love
there is love

after the last disgrace, after the last lie to save some face
after the last brutal jab from a poison tongue
after the last dirty politician, after the last meal down at the mission
after the last lonely night in prison

there is love—love, love, love
there is love—love, love, love
there is love

and in the end, the end is oceans and oceans of love and love again
we’ll see how the tears that have fallen
were caught in the palms of the Giver of love and the Lover of all
and we’ll look back on these tears as old tales

’cause after the last plan fails, after the last siren wails
after the last young husband sails off to join the war
after the last, this marriage is over
after the last young girl’s innocence is stolen
after the last years of silence that won’t let a heart open

there is love—love, love, love
there is love—love, love, love
there is love

and in the end, the end is oceans and oceans of love and love again
we’ll see how the tears that have fallen
were caught in the palms of the Giver of love and the Lover of all
and we’ll look back on these tears as old tales
’cause after the last tear falls there is love

Even in these short days and long nights, there is love. That’s the last word.

Peace,
Milton

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