Advent Day Twenty-Three Devotion - "Walking To School" by Quinn Chipley

The wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid, the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze, their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder’s den. They will not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain; for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.

Isaiah 11:6-9

These words came to me during Advent 1996, a few years after I felt I could no longer find fellowship with this church or any other. Though I have since learned I was wrong, the poem retains a place in my experience of this season of preparation.

Walking To School in Early December Dark, in Morning

You, Above All,

know I’ve lost

my former faith.

But at this time

of year I find

I’m prone

to address Your

Supreme Absence.


I do believe in deep blue.

I trust the moon.

I feel the frost.

I welcome every

child into our world.

And despite my lapse

I am quite glad

that at least one birth

caught our fancy

long enough to reveal

some hope beyond

our cruelty.

God does not die on the day when we cease to believe in a personal deity, but we die on the day when our lives cease to be illumined by the steady radiance, renewed daily, of a wonder the source of which is beyond all reason.

Prayer from Dag Hammarskjöld. Markings. Trans. Leirf Sjöoberg and W.H. Auden. New York: Knopf. 1964