The Return of Golden Hours!

The best laid schemes … gang aft agley. ~Robert Burns

As many of you may remember, Laura and embarked upon this year with a noble plan to keep and chronicle “all the golden hours” in this space. Inspiration was running high, and the warmth of your fellowship here through the 2016 Advent and Christmas season fueled our ambition to keep watching for glimpses of a coming and present glory amid the ordinary round of “the rest of the year.”

All noble purposes to the contrary, however, it’s been a fitful undertaking, fizzling out almost entirely at the end of a seemingly endless summer. (I say almost entirely–please tell me you didn’t miss the exquisite exception of Laura’s post about the solar eclipse.)

Fact is, it’s been a year–as in, one for the record books. I’m sure so many of you can relate, as events at large and events closer to home have left us battered and rather dazed in these waning weeks of 2017. Laura and I know we’re not the only ones limping towards the finish line of this year; we know that so many of you who are reading this are wondering how you’re ever going to kindle your hearts towards the holidays, where you’re ever going to find the energy or the inspiration–much less the joy–to craft a meaningful Thanksgiving, Advent, and Christmas for yourself and those you love.

It’s tempting (God only knows how much) to put my head down and just survive as best I may this year.

Which is exactly why it’s critical to press in deeper than ever–with more hunger, more persistence, more honest longing–to the mystery and the ancient, aching radiance of Advent and Christmas. I know this, though my heart quails at the prospect of a grace I cannot yet see. But I know it’s waiting for me–waiting for all of us–amid these shards and splintered remains of a year.

There is radiance and glory in the darkness could we but see – and to see we have only to look. ~Fra Giovanni

On Tuesday, my husband and I carved jack o’ lanterns together, a yearly tradition which evokes happy memories of both our own childhoods and of our years together. Traditions not only reveal the wild gallop of time as each act comes around again, swifter than the year before; paradoxically, they anchor us in time, granting us a glimpse of the master shuttle, weaving our days into a meaningful story of intention, continuity, and love.

So it was, that as I plunged my knife into the firm rind of my pumpkin, I felt a curious shiver of delight, a unique flavor of happiness I had not known in many months. It was a gloriously cool and golden October afternoon, and the yard was crossed with long, low beams of light. To the west, the woods and pasture were beginning to dream under gathering blue shadows, and overhead, a nearly full moon mounted in a pale, clear sky. The scents of chili simmering and brownies baking wafted out an open window, and from the barnyard came the matronly bustle and cluck of my hens putting themselves up for the night.

I looked across at Philip with a smile.

“You know, I’m glad we couldn’t have seen this moment a year ago,” I said. “Because I think we would have been frightened by all the sadness leading up to it. At least, I would have been frightened. But we wouldn’t have been able to really see the goodness—this goodness, and all the goodness hidden for us in the grief of this year. And the goodness is part of the sadness, and the goodness is so real.”

I came across a lovely quotation on my friend Sarah’s blog today, a passage centering Advent within the “noise of destruction” and the “weeping of despair and helplessness” of our broken world.

But round about the horizon the eternal realities stand silent in their age-old longing. There shines on them already the first mild light of the radiant fulfillment to come. ~Alfred Delp


Laura and I met for lunch the other day, to discuss, among other things, the future of Golden Hours. And even as we talked the intention grew bright and glad between us once more.

Now, more than ever, we need one another’s company in this holy journey of promise and longing and ultimate fulfillment. And we need you, and your myriad candles and torch-flares against the darkness. In this space of now, but not yet, we want to affirm that Redemption is real, and active among us. Even now, the rim of the world is flushed and eager, heralding the dawn of our Dayspring…

It’s for this reason I’m happy to announce that, starting next week, Golden Hours will resume a regular posting schedule. I, at least, have no idea what this holiday season will look like, but I’m convinced there is radiance and glory buried at the heart of it.

Will you join us–in our search and in our celebration?

And ye, beneath life’s crushing load,
Whose forms are bending low,
Who toil along the climbing way
With painful steps and slow,
Look now! for glad and golden hours
come swiftly on the wing.
O rest beside the weary road,
And hear the angels sing!
~Edmund Sears











  1. Oh, Lanier, I’m so glad this lovely blog will be here again this season. It is so much easier to see beauty and light when faithful people recognize the darkness and keep on looking for redemption, confident that it is coming and already here among us. Grateful to you both for being hearts awake, looking for golden glory even in the midst of suffering. Brave and beautiful, encouraging in the truest sense of the word.

  2. I am so very, very happy about this… I mentioned your lovely space on the interwebs in my Advent/Christmas/Epiphany book just out. I rejoice that the beauty and encouragement will be here.

  3. I was delighted to see a new post from Golden Hours in my feed today! I’m thankful you have decided to press forward in this space.

  4. I too am ever so happy to read this, Blessings. Thank you for such encouragement, how needed in this day we live in. Dawn E. Brown

  5. What a blessing in my email today. I am so thankful that Golden Hours is about to begin again. It is just so beautiful, encouraging, uplifting, and calming. Thank you.

  6. Oh, I’m so glad! I’m already planning my Advent and Christmas things and listening to Christmas music and it will be so wonderful to have the blog to read again.

  7. I’m so glad to see posts from Golden Hours again! You are both inspirations. As we lead up to our first ever Christmas in our own home as a married couple (family is visiting instead of us making the usual long drives away), I am excited to start thinking about our own Christmas traditions.
    I grew up hearing complaints about the “worldliness” (for want of a better word) of the Christmas season, so it’s completely refreshing to see examples of how one can delight in this time of year, and yet keep it Jesus centred at the same time. Thank you!

  8. Hooray, hooray!! I’m so happy to hear that Golden Hours will resuming regularly for the holiday season this year! Oddly enough, I make far more time for blog reading in November and December than in the other ten months of the year put together, and I’ve been hoping that Golden Hours would be a part of my annual online holiday reading bonanza this year. Again I say, “Hooray, hooray!!”

  9. What wonderful news! Last year your holiday posts both cheered and calmed my days as I tried (and often failed) to settle my mind and heart on the important and not the trivial.

  10. It will be such a blessing to walk with you and Laura again this year as we journey through Advent to the Savior’s birth. I pray for all who take this way that God’s infinite goodness and abundant Mercy will be manifest in our lives. Wishing you joy, Lanier.

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