Advent Reflections
Each day in Advent, you will receive an email from St. Barnabas with words and images to invite your engagement with the season’s themes of longing and hope, preparation and expectation, listening and silence. Many of the images will not be traditional “religious” art. Advent calls us to notice the signs of God in unexpected places.
We invite you to prayerfully contemplate the images and absorb the words. Consider returning to them at various times during the day, letting them speak into the moment. Perhaps you will hear a word meant just for you.  

December 3rd, 2019
George Segal, Expulsion from Paradise , 1986-1987. Yahweh banished the man and woman; and at the east of the garden of Eden he posted the cherubim and the fiery sword, to guard the way back to the tree of life” (Genesis 3:24).
W. H. Auden’s epic poem of the Incarnation, For the Time Being: A Christmas Oratorio , begins in an Advent world: lost and tarnished, wandering in search of a salvation that lies beyond all human remedy. The “dreadful wood of conscious evil”––the opposite of Eden’s sheltering, affectionate trees––rhymes the frightful “dark wood” of Dante’s prelude to the Inferno . The long and winding road to our true home in God begins the moment we recognize ourselves to be in a condition of exile. 

Alone, alone about a dreadful wood
Of conscious evil runs a lost humankind,
Dreading to find its Father lest it find
The Goodness it has dreaded is not good:
Alone, alone, about our dreadful wood. . .

The Pilgrim Way has led to the Abyss.
Was it to meet such grinning evidence
We left our richly odored ignorance?
Was the triumphant answer to be this?
The Pilgrim Way has led to the Abyss.

We who must die demand a miracle.
How could the Eternal do a temporal act,
The Infinite become a finite fact?
Nothing can save us that is possible:
We who must die demand a miracle.