Merry Christmas, dear friends! This Advent season, we’ve been meditating on Emily Dickinson’s poem, “Tell all the truth but tell it slant,” as we’ve explored the stories of Isaiah 9 (the people who walked in darkness have seen a great light), Mark 1 (John the baptist’s public service announcement), and Luke 1 (Mary’s readiness to serve God’s greater plans). We’ve been considering, as we will again this Sunday with the birth of Jesus (Luke 2), how God often reveals his purposes gradually, subtly, “at a slant,” lest we be overwhelmed. Or as Dickinson put it, “The Truth must dazzle gradually or every man be blind.“
As we now officially enter the Christmas season, here are ten quotes from Emily Dickinson, with commentary from yours truly, to sharpen our appreciation of her insight into life, and to inspire us to greater and more faithful living in 2024. May your new year be blessed by God!
“Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul – and sings the tunes without the words – and never stops at all.” There’s always hope—don’t stop believing!
“Unable are the loved to die, for love is immortality.” Or as was sung in the play Les Miserables, “To love another person is to see the face of God.”
“That it will never come again is what makes life sweet.” Each day is a one of a kind gift, even when it brings challenges. Savor it!
“They might not need me; but they might. I’ll let my head be just in sight; a smile as small as mine might be precisely their necessity.” Never underestimate the power of small kindnesses.
“If I can stop one heart from breaking, I shall not live in vain.” You can’t fix all that is wrong in the world, but you can make a huge difference for some.
“Not knowing when the dawn will come I open every door.” Be alert and ready to embrace every good opportunity.
“A wounded deer leaps the highest.” You often gain strength from difficult times; you are capable of more than you think.
“My friends are my estate.” True friends are worth more than wealth and fortune.
“Forever is composed of nows.” The gradual accumulation of what we do each day is what creates the character of our lives.
“I dwell in possibility.” “The brain is wider than the sky.” There is always something to learn, love, and see.