“And Mary said, “Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.”
Luke 1:38 NASB1995
At the end of the first week of Advent,
I escaped home duties and cacophony of power tools
For the quiet delight of the path and the trees, gorgeous
With the improvident luminosity of hope.
The membrane of severance,
As impermeable as stainless steel,
Exiles the leaves from the life of the tree,
This death necessary to protect the new life within,
Wherein dwells hope.
Behold the beauty of their surrender:
Maroon, plum, saffron, cerise,
Gold worthy of Solomon’s temple,
The forest green of the junipers,
The gnarled hands of live oaks reaching heavenward,
With Mary the virgin,
They accept what Providence appoints:
“Let it be to me according to your word.”
Let it be yes to grace,
Yes to dishonor,
Yes to gossip,
Yes to misunderstanding,
Yes to shame slandering her dearest loves,
Yes to the unknown,
Yes to mystery,
Yes to pain.
Yes to the fellowship of His sufferings,
The sword-pierced soul requisite to resurrection.
For all shall be well,
And all shall be well,
And all manner of thing shall be well.*
Like Mary, the leaves surrender,
Obeying their Maker.
They change the glory of Annunciation
For the burnt sienna lament blanketing
Pointilistic green-brown winter grass.
They give over life for death—
Death to plans, purposes, dreams, rights, vindication,
The particular death of forgiveness—
Life for death for life to others,
The new year’s paperwhites
And tulips and bluebonnets and Easter lilies,
Clothed all in resurrection hues.
Their sacrifice protects new leaves now sheltering behind
The placental membrane of separation.
The old has passed away
For the new not yet come.
Unclothed and unashamed,
The bare trees clap their hands,
For He is coming.
Today the susurration of faded glory underfoot
Whispers the peace of letting go:
“Let it be to me.”
*Julian of Norwich