Christmas is about traditions, like singing the old familiar songs, or watching Charlie Brown every year, knowing all the words, waiting for your favorite lines. Our tradition of writing a poem to share each Christmas began in earnest 19 years ago. There are familiar themes in them, too, and yet great diversity. See The Bug for our latest! One constant over the years is that, whether we mention it in the poem or not, we try to return to the manger, to focus on Advent and all that it means to us. Given that I have been thinking a lot about Mary this season (I blame Willow and her Magpie Tales ;-), I decided to post our first and third poems for you as we head toward Christmas Eve. I was also inspired to do so by this Nativity post from our dear friend Ann T. Hathaway.
As for the poems below, The Bug authored the former, and I the latter. May you find hope and comfort in this season, no matter how dim the days may have grown, no matter the obstacles in your path. Okay, I almost started to quote _Lord of the Rings_ again. I get that and the Bible mixed up all. the. time. Seriously, if I have learned anything from the ongoing quest for knowledge and meaning that is my life, it is this: the Divine works in mysterious ways...and apparently takes great delight in surprising us! What could be more mysterious, more surprising, than the Advent of Christ: God at long last coming to dwell among us, yet not as a king triumphant, but as a fragile little baby, born of a frightened unwed (initially, anyway) mother far from home and hearth? Blessed among women, indeed!
It is a season of pregnant hope--
Mary, great with child,
wonders what glory
could come from her shame.
It is a season of reluctant faith—
accepts the unacceptable,
embraces Mary’s miracle as his own.
It is a season of difficult birth—
Jesus, born a fragile child,
shatters ancient silence,
Immanuel in swaddling.
It is a season of bated breath—
God, through unexpected doors,
comes to us, abundant grace:
Wait! Watch! Listen!
It is a season of merciful action—
Take this Christ-child
serendipity into the world.
It is a season of remembered love—
We remember you.
It is a season of silent expectation—
Shepherds, shivering in the night,
await the coming of the messiah
Adonai has promised them.
It is a season of ancient prophecy—
Magi, bearing royal gifts,
follow the light of a new-born star
to David’s city, Bethlehem.
It is a season of two-edged terror—
Herod, obsessed with usurpers,
has words of scripture on his mind
and thoughts of murder in his heart.
It is a season of great gladness—
Angels, foretold of the coming birth,
can hardly keep from singing to God
new-written songs of praise and love.
It is a season of heavenly peace—
Carry Christ-like reconciliation
with you into our embattled world.
It is a season of much rejoicing—
Our Redeemer this day is born!
May peace, which is beyond all understanding, be yours this season, my dear friends!