Editor's note: "Yuletide Chat" concludes with an excerpt from one of Bishop Ken Carter's favorite passages to think about in the days after the Christmas celebration is over. This series of "Yuletide Chats" by Bishop Carter was first published during Advent in 2012.
As the excitement of Christmas winds down and the ornaments go back in the box, take time to reflect again on the season's meaning and the year ahead.
For The Time Being
BY W.H. AUDEN
Well, so that is that. Now we must dismantle the tree.
Putting the decorations back into their cardboard boxes
Some have got broken -- and carrying them up to the attic.
The holly and the mistletoe must be taken down and burnt.
And the children got ready for school. There are enough
Left-overs to do, warmed-up, for the rest of the week --
Not that we have much appetite, having drunk such a lot,
Stayed up so late, attempted -- quite unsuccessfully --
To love all of our relatives, and in general
Grossly overestimated our powers. Once again
As in previous years we have seen the actual Vision and failed
To do more than entertain it as an agreeable
Possibility, once again we have sent Him away,
Begging though to remain His disobedient servant,
The promising child who cannot keep His word for long.
The Christmas Feast is already a fading memory.
And already the mind begins to be vaguely aware
Of an unpleasant whiff of apprehension at the thought
Of Lent and Good Friday which cannot, after all, now
Be very far off. But, for the time being, here we all are ...
The Time Being is, in a sense, the most trying time of all ...
There are bills to be paid, machines to keep in repair,
irregular verbs to learn, the Time Being to redeem
From insignificance. The happy morning is over,
The night of agony still to come; the time is noon:
When the Spirit must practice his scales of rejoicing
Without even a hostile audience, and the Soul endure
A silence that is neither for nor against her faith
That God's Will will be done, that, in spite of her prayers,
God will cheat no one, not even the world of its triumph.