We got up at 2 am, bundled up, and stood on our front porch. The orange moon came in and out of view in the wispy fog above our heads. The woods on our mountain were dark and foreboding, but the layer of snow on the ground shimmered like frosting on a cake. Lori says she saw a meteor, but I missed it. The universe was bursting aglow all around us and under our feet.
This morning when I got up for my morning prayers, the moon was setting in the west, casting shadows from the trees in our woods, giving one last display of its light. Then the moon disappeared and it was dark again, but the sky gave an Advent blue cast, and the woods looked gray. With the sun coming up in the East as I write this, the western sky has a purple tint.
The experience from last night's sky danced through my prayers as I read the Daily Office readings. From Isaiah 11:10-16, the prophet proclaims outcasts will be gathered from far and wide, and hostility shall depart.
From Revelation 20:11-21:8, the mystic visionary writer declares:
"I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away... And I saw a holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God... And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, 'See, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them as their God, they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them; he will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and and crying and pain will be no more..."
God is certainly dwelling on our earth with us this morning.
And then in Luke 1:5-25, the story of Zechariah being struck mute, for a time, at the news of his pregnant wife, Elizabeth. The claims in these biblical readings are awesome. So is an orange moon. Maybe silence is the right way to greet these events. Silence for a time.