The Field

Yesterday’s yesterdays jumble and pile.
I wake,
and walk —

I shuffle with leaden legs in numbing rhythm,
rousting a sacred cloud that accompanies
my tracing of Hope’s path.

Spent flora, trapped in brittle nests
offer silent tribute to
by-gone seasons of life.

With dulled eyes skimming
the frustrated landscape,
I plant with wobbly resolve.

And wait.

I return
to this Field of Promise
a beggar —

Dank grayness surrounds me;
I’m chilled —
from the inside out.

Hushed tormenting sameness
tensions my faith
toward thinness.

A violent tumult of
what is, what isn’t, and what should be
usurps all cognition.

Dear God, Sower of this Field —

Wrestle life from
the starved soil
of this bewildered soul.

Rake, pull, tear, and burn
my prideful thatch.

Plow the deadness
into furrows of grace.

Water and Light,
come nourish my anguish.

Release in me a joyful submission
and patient fruit.

Call forth a sprig of green.

For tomorrow I’ll wake,
and walk to this Field again.

Copyright © 2015 Chris De Man. All rights reserved.

How Long Would You Wait?

Two weeks until Christmas. These days are torture. It’s a type of no-man’s-land. Christmas Day is close enough to foster frenzied anticipation, yet far enough away to breed frustration. The ‘teens’ of countdown calendars seem to linger like a bad cold. Presents under the tree taunt me. Holiday movies, class parties and endless Pandora Christmas tunes only froth my desires. Oh Christmas – come quickly!
Waiting can be the hardest part (cue the Tom Petty song). Especially when what’s waited for is deeply desired. Remember waiting to get your driver’s license? To graduate? Land that first job? Get married? How about waiting for a child to sleep through the night? Or become toilet-trained?
As I wait for Christmas Day I’ve been pondering the promise of Christmas. A promise first spoken to humanity’s parents – Adam and Eve. A promise given in the midst of failure and disgrace. But in that moment of death came the promise of life. A commitment to rescue and restore. It was a scene both terrible and wonderful. Tragic and hopeful. It was all around incredible as in the mire of despair God promised to fix our mistake.
But not right away.
We had to wait. For thousands of years. Years filled with suffering and confusion. Years of wandering, wondering, fear and pleading. Doubts found energy in the waiting. Was the promise real? Why hadn’t it come yet? And if it was coming, why not now?
Prophets – God’s town criers – rekindled the hope of the promise with encouragement, stern warnings and calls for faithful, patient obedience. Some listened. Some doubted. Some gave up – the waiting was too much.
Then God went silent.
For centuries. I imagine it was a cold, painful, trying silence. With dimmed hopes. Intense longings. And in the most despairing moments, tears of suffering. The waiting was agony. God’s silence, dreadful.
But then God spoke.
His first words were profound proclamations to a pair of unlikely women. An old woman; her younger relative. The seed of promise began to sprout. Humanity’s greatest failure was about to meet its Kinsmen Redeemer. The buds of hope were swelling.
A short time later, the promise blossomed. The void of silent anticipation was filled by angel shouts, shepherd gasps, a mother’s joyous cries and a father’s relieved sigh. The promise was here.

Jonathan Edwards said, “Christ’s incarnation was a greater and more wonderful thing than ever had yet come to pass… It was a great thing for God to make the creature, but not so great as for the Creator himself to become a creature.” An amazing promise kept in a miraculous way. Mankind’s failure became God’s great victory.

The promise of Jesus was long in coming, but worth the wait. And we continue to wait. We long for the day when that child – now King Jesus – will return to the earth He left and consummate His Kingdom. Bring restoration. Healing. Justice and peace. It will be Christmas all the time.

Come quickly, Lord Jesus.