Who holds who?

Picture by Sr Jackie Smith
 Happy Holidays
 Winter Wishes
 ’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 
 Homeless.
 
 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
 My disappointments 
 My grief.
 The Christ Child will take them all
 and remain with me
 loving
 comforting
 forever.

Emmanuel

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….
 
but then
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
Emmanual

Review of 2020

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
 Isolated 
 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
 My heart
 With good things
 With beauty

 Forests of peace
 Lakes of kindness
 Mountains of faithfulness
 Waterfalls of joy
 Good fruits
 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
 Within me.
 
 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.