A Christmas Poem: Repost

Starry Night Sky!photo © 2009 K.Hurley | more info (via: Wylio)

 

Blurring the lines
Of chaotic turmoil
And the quiet places.

Whispering in the cold
Speaking peace
To an empty full sky.

Awakening brilliance shines
Glory steps out
Upon the stars.

Murmurings of yore
Shouting the secrets,
Answered in a moment.

Freezing steps
Hastening to see
Divine mingled humanness.

Breathing in
Manure scented
Sacredness.

Fusing together
Worlds of man
And the presence of Grace.

Celebrating a Non-Perfect Christmas

Some days are heart heavy, laden with overwhelming stress. Others, sneak up softly from behind and embrace us with a warm hug, a bit of grace in the calendar of hard times. During this holiday season, the days of subtle grace feel fewer and more spread out. Expectations never quite satisfied leaves with us a salty after taste usually from our tears. We can’t do it all. But we won’t admit it. We allow the mistress of perfectionism to whip us into submission, and she is a bitch of an overload. Yet, we listen to her commands, obey, and loathe ourselves for our failures.

We believe the lie of perfect.

Maybe, it’s just me, but this year, I’m not really into the whole Christmas spirit. I tried. Our Christmas tree, real and smelling of the deep mountain woods, decorated with Hallmark ornaments looked beautiful. Until the its lopsided weight cause it to tumbled down several times. Ornaments broken and another tarnish on a potentially perfect Christmas. Stocking hung by the fireplace, and Christmas lists filled out and delivered to Santa and Grandma and aunts and uncles. Slowly, they complain that the gifts desires cost too much, and Christmas gifts become a competition for children’s affection, the favorite present, the best gift. Another blotch on a perfect Christmas.

But the first Christmas wasn’t perfect either.

But we place such a great weight upon ourselves for a perfect Christmas–perfect tree, perfect Christmas presents, perfect cookies. We choke on our perfect while Christ offers us a respite from our striving. Why do we believe ours should be perfect? Jesus born in a stable, hunted by Herod, and spending his early years in a foreign land. The first Christmas didn’t need to be picture perfect postcard of holiday cheer. It simply needed to take place. And we simply need to remember and celebrate.

Where does your Christ come from?

merry christmasphoto © 2007 David Lienhard | more info (via: Wylio)

During the week of Christmas, I begin pulling away from the twinkle lights, malls full of shoppers, pictures with Santa, just to remember why I celebrate Christmas. To revel in the cast of characters—shepherds, Mary, Joseph, the Magi, and Jesus—to sit in the stillness of morning remembering the joy, the peace of who Christ was in that moment. Like Margery Kempe in Medieval literature, I find it healing to insert myself into the Nativity to wrap myself in the comforting narrative of the birth of Christ. Particularly, the story of Mary—I love her words after the angel spoke to her, but each Christmas, I am deeply ashamed of how the evangelical church makes her a secondary, minor role in the whole Christmas narrative.

But the evangelical church has tried for years to downplay the role of Mary. How else could the church view women as non-persons, silence women’s collective voices, and extinguish the passion of the women in church. Perhaps, the men of the church felt excluded from the Christmas narrative, sensing a shift in power away from them. This power had to be regained. So, Christmas focuses on the masculine narratives—the shepherds, Gabriel, Joseph, and Christ. Mary is praised for her humility, her silence, her obedience. Never praised for her part in the salvation narrative, forgotten after the second chapters of the gospels.


Thus, men regained their position of power through downplaying the role of Mary. So much so that these same men of the church denied women rights based upon the gender of Christ—Christ is a man, thus, you women can’t have the same status, rights as men. But I marvel in the wisdom of Sojourner Truth in her speech “Ain’t I a Woman?”

Then that little man in black there, he says women can’t have as much rights as men, ’cause Christ wasn’t a woman! Where did your Christ come from? Where did your Christ come from? From God and a woman! Man had nothing to do with Him.

Yes, Christ didn’t come to give us power over each other, to deny one set of people basic human rights, to set up hierarchies in the church, but to rescue us from all these preconceived notions of power, to save us from our sins, essentially to remove us from our self-destructive ways. This is the miracle of Christmas.

Poem-Christmas

Starry Night Sky!photo © 2009 K.Hurley | more info (via: Wylio)

Blurring the lines
Of chaotic turmoil
And the quiet places.

Whispering in the cold
Speaking peace
To an empty full sky.

Awakening brilliance shines
Glory steps out
Upon the stars.

Murmurings of yore
Shouting the secrets,
Answered in a moment.

Freezing steps
Hastening to see
Divine mingled humanness.

Breathing in
Manure scented
Sacredness.

Fusing together
Worlds of man
And the presence of Grace.

Hope

First Advent and first candle is litphoto © 2007 Per Ola Wiberg | more info (via: Wylio)

Hope…

Yesterday began the season of Advent. We celebrated like so many other churches the gift of hope. Hope in the promised Messiah, hope in the future of the church, hope for new beginnings, HOPE.

I don’t always understand hope.

I can begin to grasp faith and love, putting these two abstract concepts into very real applications. But hope, I am not sure how it can escape its abstract nature. Sometimes, hope feels more like something we cling to when life becomes too harsh–almost an escape mechanism for reality.

Yet in some ways, hope binds faith and love together. The only practical application of hope must be through faith and love. Maybe, when we see the interconnectedness of these three advent gifts do we gain a small glimpse into the divine. That gives us a reason to hope.

Question: How do you understand hope?