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Spirit Advent

Editor’s Note: Candice, an RMM worker in Thailand, wrote this poem as a reflection on what advent means to her, and what it means to those still searching and longing for the light of Christ’s coming. Please join us in praying for encouragement and perseverance for our workers as they carry the light of Christ’s love to places where darkness is powerful.
(A ghost story: As the Thai legend goes, two hundred years ago, a man in love went off to war and was wounded. Meanwhile, his beloved Mae Nak and her unborn child lost their lives in childbirth. Because of her great love for him, her ghost remained. When he returned home, he lived with his new bride and baby unaware that she was a spirit. After catching her in a ghostly act, he ran away, terrified. Today, in Bangkok, true believers visit a shrine to her angel/ghost to ask for favor in childbirth, love, war, and other matters of heart and luck.)

Spirit Advent

By Candice

At the shrine of Mae Nak
Devotees come to kneel in somber supplication
To lady ghost and babe
Offer her image a garden of flowers
Layer her fingers with flakes of gold
Fill her closets with silk.
Dark spirits are thick
Where her sober portraits line the walls.
Where people ask favor, luck
From two souls long flown.

Advent has come but
The infant savior has no place here
Today in the smoky shadows,
With the fortune tellers, caged birds, magic trees, gilded gods.
Come, Oh Come Emmanuel
To these dark corners of our world, our hearts.
Come quietly at night, as you did before
Ransom us captives
Lift us from our bending
Free us from our
Hopeless bargains
    Endless tears
        Longing sighs.

Here they light the yellow candles
On an altar thick with wax,
Wishes rise and hang in smoke
Suspended.

Come, Oh Come Emmanuel

Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.

Keep watch in darkness,
Our Savior, our Comforter, is near.