The Widow's Walk

November 28, 2021
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Listen while you read: "Come Thou Long-Expected Jesus"1 (Lyrics)

I live in Nova Scotia, and to be precise, I live on the eastern shore, which is dotted with small fishing villages. The architecture here is often just a tad different from what most people are used to: we have a large number of widow's walks! "What is that?" you say from your distant inland home. What is a widow's walk? Architecturally, the widow's walk is a railed rooftop platform. More legend than reality, it is said that the widow's walk was built especially for the time of waiting, the time of hope and expectation, the time of fulfillment — or just as often, the time of deepest sorrow and distress. Anticipation, mixed with hope and fear, is what a widow's walk is all about.

One of the legends goes like this:

    The faithful and dedicated wife, performing her daily circumambulations on the cold and lonely widow's walk: The next sail to top the horizon may well carry her husband, gone to sea these many years. But not today. The sun sets, bringing to a close her lonely vigil for this day. Perhaps, though, the much-anticipated vision will happen tomorrow and if not tomorrow, the next day." (The Fisherman's Voice)

Advent begins with such anticipation. It is a time of watching and waiting, a time of hope mingled with fear. The ancient prayer of the church is "Maranatha! Come, Lord Jesus!" Let this Advent season fill you with such hope, such anticipation as you seek to faithfully watch and wait. Jesus' promise to us is faithful:

Revelation 22:20-21 – The one who testifies to these things says, "Surely I am coming soon." Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all the saints. Amen. (NRSV)

Psalm 25:5 – Lead me in your truth, and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all day long. (NRSV)


    Come, Thou long expected Jesus,
    Born to set Thy people free;
    From our fears and sins release us,
    Let us find our rest in Thee.
    Israel's strength and consolation,
    Hope of all the earth Thou art;
    Dear desire of every nation,
    Joy of every longing heart.
           – Charles Wesley

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About the author:

Kenn Stright <>
West Petpeswick, Nova Scotia, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Thank you.

    Thanks for the good reminder, Kenn.

    Thank you, Kenn, for this good application of a historical moment.

    Thanks for a great insight into advent today, Kenn. Good old hymns that say it so well!

    Great post for this first Sunday of Advent, Kenn!
    Thanks and God bless!

    So good. Thank you. Enjoy Sabbath and the advent walk. I can almost smell the sea air.

    Thank you, Kenn, for sharing this informational devotional with us today.
    May we be ever vigilant. Blessings.

    Thank you for your devotional and information about the widow’s walk. It was interesting to read about it and thank you for your prayer hymn.

    Dear Kenn,
    Thanks! The format is beautiful, and l can easily relate to the write up, not through experience but imaginations, thanks to TV coverage.
    Happy Advent season!!!

    I really enjoy your down to earth real-life pictures you draw for us reminding us in ways familiar or identifiable of God’s constant presence and the hope we each can have.
    Peace be with you.
    (Ontario, Canada)

    Good morning Kenn.
    This is such a good way to compare and make us think of “the time of waiting, the time of hope and expectation, the time of fulfilment”. Thank you.
    Do take care and have a great day. Blessings to you and your family.

    Thanks, Kenn. The story of the widow’s walk reminds me of how we notice something on the horizon… dust from an approaching vehicle! Not nearly as romantic as the widow’s walk!
    Thank you for your Advent devotional. Perfect way to enter this holy season.

    Thanks, Kenn.
    We do have houses (or used to) with widow’s walks along the Great Lakes. I can remember towns like Collingwood with homes having them. I’m not sure how many are still standing.
    Thanks for a great devotional.

    Thank you, Kenn.
    We have been familiar with the widow’s walk for many years, and it was lovely to hear your Advent application.
    I spent twenty weeks on Pictou Island many years ago on a summer mission field. There were no widow’s walks there.
    We enjoy your interesting topics.

    Greetings Kenn,
    Thank you for another of your special and very encouraging devotionals. Our Lord certainly gives us the HOPE to carry forward each and every day and surely deserves our constant gratitude for His care.
    Blessings for these writings you prepare and may the area you live in N.S. be safe from the recent weather disturbances.

    Good morning Kenn,
    I thought a widow’s walk was really used by the wives to look for their husband’s boat. I didn’t know it was a legend. I really like the look of them.
    Relating this to Advent and the hope we have from Jesus having come to the earth and dying for our sins is fitting. Jews and Christians have been waiting a long time for the Messiah or His return.
    As we celebrate the season of Advent, may we joyously wait the coming of our Lord filled with hope, peace, joy, and love. Thank you for sharing and many blessings.

    What a great message of hope and anticipation! Thanks for helping me prepare with such a poignant visual.

    Hi Kenn Thank you for choosing the Widow’s Walk as your topic for an interesting devotion. Having visited your beautiful province, I am familiar with the architecture, and find the legends behind the architecture entertaining. Here in Ontario, especially in towns along the shores of our Great Lakes, fortunately, one may still see the odd old house showing a Widow’s Walk.
    Your Advent analogy ties right in. Well done! Please continue to teach us through your writings to look for, and walk with, our Saviour.
    Blessings of this Season to you and yours.

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