Wednesday, December 22, 2010


I find the baby Jesus
Stuck to His plastic manger
On the floor by the toy bins,
Squashed down between the couch cushions,
Next to an empty purple sippy cup,
inside a shoe.
His face doesn't change --
Uncanny perfect peace on a newborn--
Though He is far from His stable
And His little plastic mother,
Found this time stranded on the third stair
Behind the gate.
I guess this is the Savior's reality
Since taking flesh to dwell among us--
Spending time in our deep, hidden places,
Lost amid our messes,
Forgotten in the middle of all our busy lives.
And His face shining grace always
Never changes toward us.

Once again I put Him back where He belongs.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Truer gifts

Truer gifts
by Lisa Leafstrand
from A Widening Light, Regent College Publishing, 1984

The whole world (it seems)
is soaring into Christmas
meeting the cold with such proper spirit
hanging up pines with bulbs and best wishes,
meaningless to minds set in tradition
and premature weariness for celebrating routine.
(I never understood it either):

Being fond of dolls then
I got a new one every year
packaged in paper and parent-love.
I ripped away wrappings
and months of anticipation
to touch my own just born babies,
more real than any mangered child
mysteriously coming in the very olden days.
They cried faucet water tears
(not salty but still strong)
I laughed at their damp faces
No one ever told me that santa made money
by stuffing himself in a red rented suit
or that the cookies I left hot for him
were munched by the dog
as I buried my head in a pillow
white with dreams.

It always ended too soon:
hopes flickered away as colored lights blinked
into black
brittle needles left trails behind the retreating tree
and the nativity surrendered the TV top to magazines.
Songs fled the streets and people forgot to smile
snow melted
and dolls lay broken on a closet shelf.

I shall make no neat list this year
(carefully itemized from Sears' catalog);
needing nothing in the way of plastic infants
I ask for truer gifts:
that I might glow sharper than any tinselled star
showing God's good love to every inkeeper
and all astonished shepherds.

Friday, December 3, 2010

The risk of birth

The risk of birth
by Madeline L'Engle
from A Widening Light, Regent College Publishing, 1984

This is no time for a child to be born,
With the earth betrayed by war & hate
And a nova lighting the sky to warn
That time runs out & the sun burns late.

That was no time for a child to be born,
In a land in the crushing grip of Rome;
Honour & truth were trampled by scorn--
Yet here did the Savior make his home.

When is the time for love to be born?
The inn is full on the planet earth,
And by greed & pride the sky is torn--
Yet love still takes the risk of birth.

Thursday, December 2, 2010


by Elizabeth Rooney
from A Widening Light, Regent College Publishing, 1984

This is my little town,
My Bethlehem,
And here, if anywhere,
My Christ Child
Will be born.

I must begin
To go about my day--
Sweep out the inn,
Get fresh hay for the manger
And be sure
To leave my heart ajar
In case there may be travelers
From afar.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Shine in the dark

Shine in the dark
by Luci Shaw
from A Widening Light, Regent College Publishing, 1984

I From a dark dust of stars
kindled one, a prick of light.
Burn! small candle star,
burn in the black night.
In the still hushed heart
(dark as black night)
shine! Savior newly born,
shine, till the heart's light!

II Into blackness breached with white
the star shivers like a bell.
God of birth and brightness
bless the cool carillion
singing into sight!
Plot its poised pointing flight!
Dark has its victories
tonight, in David's town.
But the star bell's tongue
trembles silver still
in your felicity.

III The stars look out on
roofs of snow.
They see the night,
a velvet glow
with amber lanterns
shining so.
God searches through
the sweep of night.
Is there a heart that burns
warm and bright
to warm God's own heart
at the sight?