An inescapable aspect of winter is the way it draws us together around tables and hearths to escape the dark and cold.
This is when the ancient stories come forth. Tales and confessions not told in the bright summer light on long languid afternoons that melt into twilight.
These long nights beckon Beowulf and Grendel beneath the aurora borealis. Now is the time to listen. Not the type of listening that is an admonition, demand, or plea. Listen as an imperative suggests urgency. We are in a different land–the land of imagination, whether it is the cold dark sea coast of northern Europe or the shore of the Red Sea with pharaoh’s chariots in pursuit of death as we trod with girded loins.
Let us listen with ears that help us understand the plaintiff cry of the wolf in the wilderness crying out at our toilsome lives, the fear of calamity that comes with darkness and flight from danger. For when we do, we share in the trials and pain of others as we invite them into our lives.
The most sacred words of God echo through chapels before dawn as Matins is sung and we listen to our own cry for mercy and forgiveness. We listen and lay in wait for his voice in the dark wilderness of our hearts, and we pray that he, too, will listen to our cry.
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