It's that time of year again when the sun hits my window at that perfect angle to illuminate the cross in my office window. It always catches me off guard and makes me pause for a minute to remember that God is always here and shows up in unexpected ways. It doesn't last long - maybe five minutes - and then it's gone until the next day.
Below is one of my favourites poems by Thomas Hardy. He wrote it on the last day of the year in 1900 when the new century was about to turn. Hardy had long been struggling with his faith as Darwin's theory of evolution had really shaken the faith of how man was created. The song of the thrush breaks through the gloom and gives us the feeling there is always some hope to be found.
The Darkling Thrush
I leant upon a coppice gate
When Frost was spectre-grey,
And Winter's dregs made desolate
The weakening eye of day.
The tangled bine-stems scored the sky
Like strings of broken lyres,
And all mankind that haunted nigh
Had sought their household fires.
The land's sharp features seemed to be
The Century's corpse outleant,
His crypt the cloudy canopy,
The wind his death-lament.
The ancient pulse of germ and birth
Was shrunken hard and dry,
And every spirit upon earth
Seemed fervourless as I.
At once a voice arose among
The bleak twigs overhead
In a full-hearted evensong
Of joy illimited;
An aged thrush, frail, gaunt, and small,
In blast-beruffled plume,
Had chosen thus to fling his soul
Upon the growing gloom.
So little cause for carolings
Of such ecstatic sound
Was written on terrestrial things
Afar or nigh around,
That I could think there trembled through
His happy good-night air
Some blessed Hope, whereof he knew
And I was unaware.