Re-awakening to Joy, an Advent Poem by Rachael Keefe

Lantern in front of a blue window.
Metal lantern with a lit candle inside sits in front of of a window with white trim. The glass appears blue. Licensed from Envato Elements.

Here is a poem that was used in Sunday's Advent service for Joy.


Re-awakening to Joy by Rachael Keefe

in the deepest night
under a starless sky
with only
wordless whimpering wind
for company

presses in
calls for ceasefire
go unheeded
as do demands for
gun control
prisoners are not set free
hostages are not released
the brokenhearted are not lifted up

peoples governed by fear
ruled by one empire or another
seeking only to sustain what is
rather than create what could be –

dream of wholeness
and well-being for all people
seems to be the impossible dream
when we refuse to repent
from our addictions to
perceived safety and
pseudo security
masquerading as

comes the moment
of remembrance –
a star breaks through the clouds,
a nightbird sings,
beauty is revealed in snow-covered branches
a fox flees through the neighborhood
with cubs in tow
just as the sun tints
the horizon scarlet
with the promise of a new day

deeply suddenly becomes
possible as the weight
of fear is lifted
by the beauty and wonder
of Creation
once more

I remember
safe harbors with glassy waters
the laughter of innocents
the gentleness of a lover’s embrace
the power of friendship even
across distance and years

may rule the land
and serve only itself
by sustaining separation
between neighbors
with cultivated fear

One day
they may come
for you
for me
I will be ready
Empire’s illusions hold no
power here
the weight of oppression
is no longer mine

A new day dawns
Joy is my resistance

About Rachael Keefe

Rev. Dr. Rachael Keefe is the pastor of Living Table United Church of Christ. She was called to Living Table in 2015 after serving in many varied ministry settings since her ordination in 1992. She holds graduate degrees from Princeton Theological Seminary and Andover Newton Seminary at Yale (formerly Andover Newton Theological School). Her ministry and leadership often center around advocacy and accessibility. Her writing has been published by Chalice Press, The Christian Century, Red Letter Christians, Working Preacher, RevGalBlogPals, and others. She is grateful to be in ministry with Living Table today.

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2 thoughts on “Re-awakening to Joy, an Advent Poem by Rachael Keefe”

  1. On reading this for myself, the journey it takes me on is extremely powerful. My first exposure was listening to it read, and I got so involved with the hard reality of the early images that I didn’t come along for the eyes-open but lovely uplift that happens by the end. Thanks for the beauty and depth of this brave vision, Rachael!


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