’Tis the holiday season
The Festival of Light.
When and Why
did the word ‘Christmas’
become such a threat?
A word to be avoided?
Why do we take offence
at the sight of a baby?
Poor, conceived out of wedlock
When I enter the darkness of the stable
I see little.
No tinsel here.
Yet I am drawn to the scene.
This babe in whom all our hopes rest
The mother lifts him and gestures.
I draw near and he is placed
into my waiting arms.
Just a baby
a chubby arm flails up and meets my cheek.
holding him a wave of love consumes me.
For somehow, he is mine own.
This child will live and grow
and die and live and be mine. forever.
What comfort to hold him
knowing this is so.
Here I can leave my pain
The Christ Child will take them all
and remain with me
It was a cunning disguise.
You’d have won a fancy dress competition.
Who would have thought
to look for God
in the womb of an unmarried teenager
in the barn belonging to a pub?
in a crying baby?
in poor people far from their simple home
hounded by bureaucracy?
in a child who would soon be ‘wanted’?
who would soon be a refugee?
Who would have thought to find God later
in an immigrant?
in a backward fishing village?
in a carpenter’s workshop?
Well yes – in his celebrity status
performing miracles and healings…..
I would expect to find God there….
to find God
on a cross
alongside two thieves
and convicted of blasphemy?
Who would have thought
That God would be found now
Here, in you, in me.
Do you wince thinking ‘only on my better days?’
No friend, He is in you even now -
This treasure likes to live in broken pots
That His glory may be seen through the cracks.
That His presence delights to be with me
Is a wonderful mystery born of love
God with us
As we entered the year, few were aware of the cloud over China
The size of a mans fist
That would grow to encompass the planet
Dripping disease, spreading fear and anxiety
Locking down the frenetic world
Till all was still
We hunkered in homes
Disconnected with all that went before
from each other
Counting the death toll.
The pundits quick to criticise
All that was done
But having no answers of their own.
Much that had meaning was shed
as shops shut, workplaces closed
We stopped our rounds of visits.
It was time to stop.
How swiftly life reduced
To four walls.
And I was challenged
By my inner sparseness
Stripped of activity
Faced only with news
Of disease and death,
It was time to clean the clogged fountain
And let the spring rise up anew.
This small cave grew and expanded
Simple beauty pervades my heart
Inspired by creation
Through which I stroll
The light of God my source
In this darkness.
These burdens too heavy
I pass them to my King
Who bears all things
And gives me life
How sweet His name.
And now I furnish His house
With good things
Forests of peace
Lakes of kindness
Mountains of faithfulness
Waterfalls of joy
Pathways of self control
The scent of patience on the calm sea
I walk across the gardens of gentleness
And relish the landscape of love
How can my life be called constrained
When this richness is in You Lord
Your song drowns out
the clamouring circumstances
Glory outweighs suffering
This outward world so quickly shrank
But the inner world expands
For all time
Until one day, we will see you clearly
Walking over the waves towards us
To greet us in a holy embrace.