Advent 2: Love – Ben Ewert #2

A few days ago I shared a poem with you by the 16th century poet and priest, George Herbert, entitled Love bade me welcome. It evokes an image of Christ’s love as a pursuing force, not willing to let us go, even when we hesitate to feel it, to know it in light of our failings as people in need of redemption. Christ’s love reaches past our shortcomings and looks forward to who God has created us to be.

Today I’d like to share with you a poem that can help reveal another aspect of Christ’s love. My wife and I have been married for just over twelve years and for most of those twelve years this poem has hung in our kitchen, washroom or hallways, coming with us on all of our many moves. Our family has moved a fair amount and so these things that you carry from place to place start to become a part of your home identity even when physical places don’t. It is a portion of a work by James Russell Lowell entitled, Love, and through it Lowell echoes the apostle Paul’s description of love in 1 Corinthians 13. A love that “bares its tender feet to every roughness, yet letting not one heart-beat go astray”. A love that “seeth faults, not with flaw-seeking eyes like needle-points, but loving kindly, ever looks them down.”

This is a love that in the fiery ups and downs of marriage calls you to face both the struggles and joys head on. What a challenge to live so closely with someone, through thick and thin, yet discover that in giving of yourself you gain much more in return. This is the love of the coming King of Glory, the one who would be “a ruler in Israel, whose coming is foretold of old, from ancient days”, as it was prophesied in Micah 5:2, and yet came unexpectedly, confounding the wise and exalting the humble and meek.

True Love is but a humble, low-born thing,
And hath its food served up in earthen ware;
It is a thing to walk with, hand in hand,
Through the every-dayness of this work-day world,
Baring its tender feet to every roughness,
Yet letting not one heart-beat go astray
From Beauty’s law of plainness and content;
A simple, fire-side thing, whose quiet smile
Can warm earth’s poorest hovel to a home…

Such is true Love, which steals into the heart
With feet as silent as the lightsome dawn
That kisses smooth the rough brows of the dark,
And hath its will through blissful gentleness,—
Not like a rocket, which, with savage glare,
Whirrs suddenly up, then bursts, and leaves the night
Painfully quivering on the dazed eyes;
A love that gives and takes, that seeth faults,
Not with flaw-seeking eyes like needle-points,
But, loving kindly, ever looks them down
With the o’ercoming faith of meek forgiveness;
A love that shall be new and fresh each hour,
As is the golden mystery of sunset,
Or the sweet coming of the evening-star,
Alike, and yet most unlike, every day,
And seeming ever best and fairest now…

You can find the entire poem by James Russell Lowell here.

Leave a Comment

Your e-mail address will not be publicly visible.
Required fields are marked with *