how an ending always signals a new beginning

A year draws to a close. An ending is in sight. These are days of increasing darkness in every way. No wonder Advent makes us long for the coming of the Light of Life Himself to signal a new beginning for all of us.

Creation itself mirrors our hope. We see death all around us as trees give up their leaves and plants die to make room for the green shoots of spring. Because renewal is built into their very DNA, just like it is in us as we surrender our darkness to God and watch how He brings His light and life to bear on what seems dead.

Although our bodies may wither and lose vigour as we age, and our health fail to the point of decay and eventual death, we always have an eternal, resurrection Hope of newness of Life with God.

We, and our loved ones will live again, my friend. We have a Hope that is steadfast and certain. We are destined for more than dust and ashes. We are destined to receive beauty for ashes.

“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the suffering and afflicted. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted, to announce liberty to captives, and to open the eyes of the blind. He has sent me to tell those who mourn that the time of God’s favor to them has come, and the day of his wrath to their enemies.To all who mourn in Israel he will give: beauty for ashes; joy instead of mourning; praise instead of heaviness. For God has planted them like strong and graceful oaks for his own glory.” ~ Isaiah 61:1-3 TLB

We are God’s Beloved children. He is with us from start to finish here on earth and eternally in heaven, overseeing our lives with loving care and attention, bringing new life from sorrow and death.

Death and life

I’m a tinder-dry autumn leaf

fallen to the ground

where oblivious feet crush me

dead with a satisfying

crisp-crunch sound

My life was brief but beautiful

in its dying glory flame

and I can still remember how

I would bend and sway

as the wind sang over me

with its sighed lullaby and

stole my breath away

on blustery nights and days

Now, while I lie as dusty ash

victim to every breeze

I yearn to return to my home

branching on the tree

Then an image comes to me

of sap rising high in spring

producing buds fresh and green

filled with new life and hope, new birth

I know I will grow and bloom again

to reveal God’s splendour

here on the earth

©joylenton

vanish: letting go of our cares and concerns

November comes in shyly, concealing its icy depths in a cloak of mist. Many days are washed in vapour, made mysterious by the hiddenness of things, the way the familiar can vanish in an instant.

Reducing, darkening daylight hours make us yearn for the light, seek colour and warmth and savour each tiny bit of golden, autumnal glory while we can.

Maybe we could view this concealment as invitation to turn away for a while from the allure of the world around us. To let go of our cares and concerns, and begin to mimic these chillier days by being still and rested in our souls.

Vapour in the mist

Sky shades to silver as a veil of grey
falls like a leaden blanket, allowing
mere slivers of azure blue hues to
filter through

This pale, dove-grey covering conceals sun’s
heat with filmy rays, and invites us to
come aside from busyness and rest
here instead

So we pause a while, breathe a little freer
as we let loose constraints of the day
and watch worries vanish as vapour
in the mist
©joylenton

Father,

When skies shade to grey and our emotions are tempted to follow suit, help us instead to focus on your bright, shining Light that is always with us. May we see mellow, misty moments in these darkening days as an invitation to come aside, breathe, pause and pray, trusting that all our cares and concerns are safe in your hands.

May we reflect on the colour and vibrancy that surrounds us. Give us eyes open to receive and  hearts able to appreciate the onset of winter, sensing awe and wonder in the stark beauty it brings to everything.

Fill our souls with gratitude for the gifts to be found in each season of life and faith.  And remind us how one season will slowly segue into another, eventually vanish from our memories, until it returns in its own form of splendour, with joys we hadn’t anticipated.

Amen

summer’s ghost lingers #thedailyhaiku 29

 

Do you have a favourite season? I’m particularly fond of autumn and spring. I favour the former for its burnished leaves and ethereal mists, the cooling down (yet not too cold for being outside) aspects it has, as we hunker closer to cosy home comforts.

Spring suggests a freshness, a blowing away of cobwebs, an awakening to emerging light and new life after winter hibernation, slumber and lengthy darkness. It’s when we celebrate Christ’s resurrection, bringing holy Hope and Joy to winter-weary hearts. It’s a gentle precursor to summer, a herald in the heart of better days to come, even as frost rimes the ground.

I’m looking forward to seeing spring again, while remembering summer’s passing. Here we are in the thrall of golden autumnal days, mellow haze and crisping of leaves. Summer is receding into the background of our minds, becoming ghost-like, made delicious by fond remembrance, like a warm hug from a distant friend.

God has given us a great variety of seasonal delights to savour. I’d love to hear how the seasons speak to you, how they affect your thinking, inform your creativity or simply make you happy. Feel free to leave a comment below…  🙂

summer’s ghost lingers

summer’s ghost lingers
tasting like wine on the tongue
now autumn has come
©joylenton

gems: nature’s beauty swept into doorways #thedailyhaiku 4

 

Autumnal drifts begin to collect, most of them made wetly dark and drab, mushy and sad where I live. But those that come from areas where maple trees and other startling, vivid-leaved beauties grow, when lit by sun’s rays, glow jewel-bright, entrancing the eye.

Vivid autumn leaves are  a glorious reminder of the lavishness of God’s grace, that He would expend such beauty on things that quickly rot and decay and are swept into doorways or gathered as garden mulch or rubbish.

Let’s aim to enjoy the splendour in each season, especially this one of “mists and mellow fruitfulness”, to quote from the poet John Keats’ lyrical Ode to Autumn. And here’s my tiny haiku offering for today as I ponder these scattered gems.

scattered gems

leaves have collected

like scattered gems, jewel-bright

swept into doorways

©joylenton

Reflecting on the light

reflecting on the light - PJ FMF

These are days when I avoid more than a fleeting, perfunctory glance in glass.

Checking for unruly hair, smudges and smears while avoiding noting the passage of years.

It makes me sad and discouraged at times to mark the passing of time and all that’s left undone as another year closes.

So this is a season of seeking to see myself more in the mirror of Christ and to lean toward His glorious light.

Aiming during Advent to focus more sharply on His image rather than my own.

I want to be awed and amazed once more as I become immersed in His grace and glory-story.

I want to reflect more deeply on the light of His coming and the gift of His presence.

With these thoughts in mind, I share my best poetic five-minute-friday offering with you.

Reflection

I gaze into glass and it reflects back

a clear-eyed image of me

with uncanny accuracy

My present and past lay revealed

yet I feel it doesn’t really see

deep inside the whole of my soul

It reflects back the way years, pain and tears

have etched their stain hard on my visage

and how I’ve been beaten down by care,

wearing signs of sickness on the surface

So I turn instead to the much-thumbed

book beside my bed, and begin

to read as it continues reading me

I see myself with startling clarity

It reveals who I am in the process of

becoming when reflected in its depths

Here I am mirrored in Christ

shining forth His life

And it reflects all I can be as I

live out its truth, surrender

my time, my years, my life

Now I turn gentler toward

the mirror of glass

knowing its image is transitory,

passing, nothing that lasts

Because the only thing

that fully reflects my

passage on earth

is my faith in Christ

through the ever exalting

state of new birth

©JoyLenton2015

Reflection poem pin

Joining with fellow word wranglers at Kate Motaung’s site today as we wrestle to pin them to a page in 5 minutes flat. This week’s prompt is ‘reflect’.

It’s a lovely, encouraging, supportive community who meet there every Friday. Come join us? You’re very welcome to take part or just drop by here to read the words being shared.

Waiting in the wings

daffodils ~ PJ waiting file image

‘Waiting in the wings’

She hovered uncertain, waiting in the wings

for rise of curtain and all it would bring

She wondered how to captivate, inspire,

when the one before her was ice and fire

His command of the crowd was hard and strong

though some said he lingered for far too long

A weight of expectation sat around

as they ached for her melodious sound

The air hung heavy with discontent

Stale and fetid, all enjoyment was spent

Restless stirrings like a pot on the boil

made him falter at last and then recoil

Sensing her moment to quieten the rage,

she danced her way blithely onto the stage

He glanced at her with dark hostility

but she ignored it, twirling light and free

Some thought her a goddess, or nymph at least,

as her season ushered in joy and peace

Arms touching the sun, then bent down to earth,

she knew she was harbinger of new birth

©JoyLenton2015

“See! The winter is past; 

the rains are over and gone.

Flowers appear on the earth;

the season of singing has come”

(Song of Songs 2:11-12)

Leaning toward Lent PJ file image pin

“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland” ~ Isaiah 43:19

daffodils in Spring PJ file pin image

There goes summer

A book in the park PJ file image

It feels like summer has shied away from these shores. The days of sitting in a park reading a book seem long gone, unless we have our jeans and jackets on.

Maybe the UK gives it a chilly welcome to start with because it’s all so strange to us.

But we still have a deep appreciation for how it makes us feel.

For a few short weeks or months (if we are lucky) we can bathe in its rays. Allow skin to absorb some natural vitamin D. Let clothing and mood be light.

Make pretend we have days without end to linger, lounge and let loose. Night comes late and light seeps slow away.

Then just as we begin to stop moaning about the heat and start to enjoy the mediterranean-style food, feasting and feelings, it lifts its skirts and runs away.

Such is the position now.

August has been dire. All dirty rain, drear and gloom.

But hey, we Brits are made of stern stuff. We know how to laugh in the gales and smile through the showers, don’t we?

Or sit and reflect on season’s passing, as we enter a new season to live, love, learn and laugh at the days to come.

Or compose poetry that imagines the summer that never was. The one that got away, though we never did.

So here, in a last-ditch attempt to enjoy the season, I offer no deep thoughts or reflection today.

No, this is just a simple summery scene from the senses in gratitude for a gift of grace that often fades as swift as our tans. Though maybe a final flurry will warm our hearts before Autumn sets in.

Just because… life is too short to mourn what is lost and not embrace what lies ahead. And that’s a lesson for me as I slide ever closer toward a new decade and a new season to enjoy.

‘High summer’

Feathery quill strokes

soft across azure sky,

entrail cotton-wisps

threaded through the blue,

barely discernible hint

of shade or shadow

High summer living

ease-taking, merrymaking,

cares left to subside as bubbles

sparkling in water or wine

Dreamily drifting with eyes

closed tight against the sun

shaded by flick of hand,

with glasses swung on and off

as clothes get cast aside

and limbs bathe free

Chlorinated heat-waves

lapping over face and form

Shrieks and splashes sounding

muffled, entrenched as we are

in pursuit of floating oblivion,

relaxation, chilled-out living,

sunshine, sea and sweet savour

of pleasure ours for the taking

©JoyLenton2013

High summer living PJ file pin image

And here’s a little chill-out music to help you feel summery for just a bit longer…