Advent Reflections from a Young Married Man: The Apple Tree

“In the coming weeks, I will post seventeen short Advent reflections on the Song of Songs from a young man learning to be a lover and a husband, who at the same time struggles to plant his worth as the beloved Bride of Christ.  My guiding question:

How does the birth of God’s Son transform the broken projects of struggling lovers into aspirations for soul mating.

Click here to read the general introduction:

2A: Song of Songs 2.1-7                          The Apple Tree

1. I am a rose of Sharon,
a lily of the valleys.
2. As a lily among brambles,
so is my love among maidens.
3. As an apple tree among the trees
of the wood,
so is my beloved among
young men.
With great delight I sat in his
and his fruit was sweet
my taste.
4. He brought me to the banqueting
and his intention toward me was
5. Sustain me with raisins,
refresh me with apples;
for I am faint with love.
6. O that his left hand were under
my head,
and that his right hand
embraced me!
7. I adjure you, O daughters of
by the gazelles or the wild
do not stir up or awaken love
until it is ready! The tree of life my soul hath seen…its fruit doth make my soul to thrive…it keeps my dying faith alive.

The Advent season is among other things a reminder that we are loved.

We are lilies of the valley even if the scorching winds of life have punctured our petals.  Many struggle to feel their loveliness.  But some of those that I know have learned that the nectar of our petals have power.  Though they often feel horrid, they know how to transform the winds of doubt into positive spirit energy.  They also know how to do so without succumbing to the sick obsession  for constant self-improvement.

In unadulterated moments of spirit reception, they have felt the ecstatic voice of the beloved drawing them into sweet fellowship.  Yet, most days fill themselves with ordinary things, and it often feels as if the left hand of God were far from their weary head and his right hand withholding embrace. Even if they don’t admit it, most know they are worthy of the divine embrace, but too often secret bitterness disguises itself as busyness and the like.  They find ways not to admit how bitter they can become with God.  They can refuse to taste the sweet juice of grace and to feel the shade of mercy.

To be skilled at love is to first know how to be loved.  Can we learn to be loved? Can we learn to cozy into the embrace of a divine Saviour?  Can our thirsty souls, as Isaiah puts it, come to the water! You who have no money, come, receive grain, and eat; Come without paying and without cost, drink wine and milk!

The sand blown storms of life hold within them the power to wilt our souls.  But we have this divine rooted steadiness that waits ever for us to open our hands and receive love.  And out of the ordinariness of boring life comes a reminder of our loveliness—too soft to hear if we are not listening–, which makes my soul in haste to be with Jesus Christ the apple tree.