Hark

For my Dad, Ron Mayforth, the one who led me to the light.

Every year for the last four years, our church has had the opportunity to share a Live Nativity Production with the people of our city at a local Christmas Craft fair. Along with a couple of goats, volunteers are gathered from every age group. We usually have a real baby Jesus, a gaggle of kids playing either scruffy shepherds or cherubic angels, young adults to flesh out the roles of Joseph and Mary, and seniors of both sexes to play the Wise Men. This year, as I participated, I was struck once again by the story that marks the coming of God to us. So often, the lowliness of his birth is emphasized, the fact that he came as a helpless baby to an unknown, unwed teenager and her tradesman fiancée from a little town of little regard. There were no premium cotton sheets waiting, not even a proper crib or, for that matter, a sanitary, comfortable place for Mary to give birth. She hunkered down and grunted in the hay, not unlike the farm animals surrounding her. Hardly the dignified procession with the requisite pomp and splendor befitting the King of kings, but, if we look elsewhere, his arrival wasn’t completely without fanfare.

Let’s look at the story of God’s announcement of his coming to the shepherds. Luke 2:8-20 tells us that these were ordinary men working the night shift, tending their sheep in the open country, one of those thankless jobs with more stink involved than anything else. It would of been dark save the light of the moon and stars, something we who live in the cities of today are not accustomed to. They may have had a fire going for warmth and they may have been dozy or resting. According to this passage, an Angel of the Lord appeared suddenly and God’s glory was fearsome, startling, not a soft, gentle, gradual glow, but a light that, in an instant, split the night sky. These bleary eyed, unsuspecting men are described as terrified, an emotion I can hardly identify with. It seems a common occurrence for angels visiting human beings in the Bible to have to calm down and reassure those they’re sent to. The angel told them to relax, that he was the bearer of good news meant for everyone, that the Messiah, the one that would save his people from their sins, was born like any other baby and they could find him down yonder, wrapped up snugly and newly squawking, in a cattle stall. Doesn’t this sound insane? You’d think these simple folks would have been stunned and confused, incredulous or, at least, thinking there was something off about the stew they devoured before settling in for the night, except that they’d been hoping, praying, and waiting for this promised Messiah. That wasn’t the end of it. The angel brought friends and not just a quartet’s worth, but an army filling the sky, flooding the atmosphere and the wide-eyes of those shepherds with unremitting light. They, this army of blinged-out, celestial beings, proceeded to put up a wall of praise the likes of which, I’m sure, has not been heard on the earth since. It was an incredible spectacle, exactly what one may expect of the true light…coming into the world (John 1:9).

I think we’ve lost something in the frenzy of planning, shopping, decorating, cooking and baking, concerts and parties. We feed on mounds of turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatoes, our bellies swollen past uncomfortable and, yet, our souls our withering away with a lack of wonder. We ooh and ahh over cheap trinkets when we should be enraptured at the incarnation. We’ve become the dozy shepherds, going about our busyness, numb and empty and full of longing, groping about in the darkness. Wake us up with a start, Lord. Send your light to rip open our souls. May your message of love, joy, peace, and hope fill us to overflowing. May the angel’s song reverberate through every fiber of our beings until it comes out our mouths and we’re compelled to seek you where you may be found and share the wonder of your visitation with all who’ll listen. Amen and amen. Wishing you a blessed Christmas!

Feature photo: A mashup made by yours truly of an angel from Pixabay and my dumpster art.

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Knock Knock

Oh, hello.

How nice of you to drop by.

I wasn’t expecting you.

I hear the sound of a baby’s cry

And the bleating of stable animals.

Something smells.

But, no matter.

Come on in.

I’m sorry, I’ve nothing prepared.

Life is busy. You know how it is.

Can we get personal?

You don’t mind, do you?

Cuz, I’m a bit surprised.

Was this your plan

With all your power

To enter in this mess

Helpless and completely at our mercy?

Yes, it was?

How interesting!

Was this your plan

To form a band of rag tag nobodies

Confer on them a mission and an other-wordly kingdom

Placing all possibility of success squarely on their wobbly shoulders?

Let me guess, the answer, yet again, is yes?

How curious!

Was this your plan to end up nailed, spiked through hands and feet, to weathered stakes of wood

In front of all of those you healed who thought you were the one to free them?

You have my rapt attention.

To breathe your last and pass from heaven into hell

And, then, to rise again, ascend to sit at God’s right hand,

To make your home with us where you will reign forevermore?

What’s this?

A resounding affirmation

Oh, yes, there’s no mistake, no lapse in judgement, but celestial wisdom.

Oh, I didn’t know, I didn’t see, I didn’t understand.

The tears they blind my eyes.

You came to live with us, with me!

I bow my head.

I get down humbly on one knee

And offer up my heart, my life.

It’s all I have to give.

You lift me up and hold me for a time.

Then we let go, but still I feel aglow.

I’ll show you to your room.

 

Feature image graciously provided by Άννα Καράκοντη (@anna_karakonti) on Instagram.

Merry Christmas to you and yours! Thank you for reading my blog! You give me the gift of your time and attention every time you do and I’m so grateful. Enjoy your holiday!

Posts come out every Monday morning, a poem every third Monday. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to receive notifications of my posts via email. Follow me on Instagram @pollyeloquent. 🙂

 

Good Tidings

I’ve a hole in my heart since the day I was born

I knew it was there and while I’ve grown the hole grows, too

It’s now a rift, no, more a chasm

I’ve been trying unsuccessfully to fill

And I fear someday as I tiptoe on the edge

To deposit yet another futile offering

That I will stumble on the slippery shale

And fall within myself and disappear

 

But at this time of year

I’m reminded there’s hope

I’m reminded that my hole is nothing more

Than the feeling that I’m desperately alone

And the anguish that I suffer now

Was remedied one Christmas morn

When the Father of the universe, the lover of our souls

Sent the Son to be with us

God is with us

 

It’s why the angel choir sang

And what the shepherds felt compelled to tell

And why the wise men left their palaces

To wander miles across the desert sands

Their eyes transfixed upon a glorious star

Somehow they knew the coming of this tiny babe, this most unlikely king

Would satisfy and make them well

And they would never be alone

God is with us

 

Remember now, rejoice and celebrate

The radiance that pierced the darkness on the earth

Remember now while it comes easily

And take it with you into a mysterious new year

It’s why we lift our voices in the carol song

And swathe the evergreen in beams of light

It’s why we give our gifts to meet the needs of one and all

It’s why we live

To breathe and bear this sacred tale

God is with us

God is with us

God is with us

 

Author’s note: There will be another Christmas poem posted on Christmas Day. 🙂

Posts come out every Monday morning, a poem every third Monday. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to receive notifications of my posts via email. Follow me on Instagram username: pollyeloquent. Thanks for reading. 🙂

 

 

 

 

Giving that Hurts so Good

When many people think of Christmas, the first thought that comes to mind is presents, packages wrapped up crisp and neat in festive paper, be-ribboned, and tucked awaygift1 under the bows of the Christmas tree to mingle with the low hanging ornaments. Gone are the days when sugar plums danced in childrens’ heads and shrieks of glee could be heard over a stocking filled with an orange and a couple of candy canes. Now, it’s iPhones and PlayStation consoles cluttering up kids’ noggins and taxing parents’ already stretched bank accounts.
Continue reading “Giving that Hurts so Good”

All I Want for Christmas is You

airjordanWant is rampant in our culture, particularly during the holiday season. I’m not talking about the want of poverty where people are subsisting on found food, begging for discards, and suffering and dying of starvation. I’m speaking of the disease of desire, the “must have more” mentality, the mission of acquisition.
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Out of the Mouths of Teens

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My son and his junior high band class played Christmas carols at City Hall one year. Before angeltinsel2they began, the band teacher turned around to explain that the students had only been together for a paltry few weeks. This was the first time, to my knowledge, that my son had played the saxophone. The teacher added that with the limited number of students and, consequently, instruments, the melody may be carried by instruments we were not accustomed to hearing carry the melody.
Continue reading “Out of the Mouths of Teens”