Saturday, December 26, 2009

What Christmas Evokes

It's appropriate today to share words I've read about Christmas that evoke a deeper appreciation of Christ and the Incarnation. On another level, the etching above by my cousin in Holland, Ad Arma, similarly stirs my sensibilities. It says "Incarnation" to me. Click on it to get the full effect.


On the day when we remember the Nativity of Christ, the Incarnation of the Son of God, we can see that the beginning of a new time has come, that this world that had gone old because God was, as it were, far away from it - great, awe-inspiring but distant, had come to an end. GOD IS IN OUR MIDST: this is the meaning of the word ‘Emmanuel’; God with us - and the world is no longer the same. We live in a world into which God has come, in which He is the living power, the inspiration, Life itself, Eternity itself …

Yes, we are waiting for the day when God will come in glory, when all history will be up, when all things will be summed up, when God shall be all in all; but already now God is in our midst; already now we have a vision of what each of us is by vocation and can be by participation. But this is an offer; God gives His love, God gives Himself - not only in the Holy Gifts of Communion, but in all possible ways He is ready to enter into our lives, to fill our hearts, to be enthroned in our minds, to be the will of our will, but to do that, to allow Him to do that we must give ourselves to Him, we must respond to love by love, to faith - the faith which God has in us - by faith that is trust and faithfulness to Him. And then - then, we, each of us singly and all of us in our togetherness, will become God's Kingdom come with power, the beginning of the fullness of time, the beginning of the glorious victory!

Isn't that something which is worth struggling for? Isn't it worth turning away from everything that separates us from our own integrity, from one another, from God, and allow ourselves to become new creatures?

Let us now, now that the beginning has come, and in a way the end is already in our midst, let us do it: overcome all that is unworthy of ourselves and allow God victoriously to transfigure our lives!

Glory be to God for His love! Glory be to God for the faith He has in us,
and for the hope He has put into us! Amen!

(Anthony Bloom)

Finally, for those who would like to see a copy of my Christmas newsletter, just click here. (Link will be "live" for about a month.)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Some Advent - Christmas Thoughts

Yes, it's a busy time, and we should know better.

Below is a little something that I wrote years ago. It still seems relevant.

Let Advent seek, let mists descend,
Let all creation stare;
Let humble eyes a sight behold
That stirs a soul laid bare.

While shoppers run and sales abound,
While children's eyes are wide;
While money flows and gifts are wrapped,
Let stand the greedy tide.

Take care to keep from letting go,
From turning with the rest.
Take time to wait and time to know
The better from the best.

Look back and see through fog and veil
The site of love's release;
A land, a star, a shepherd's cave,
A blessed place of peace.

Here dust and dirt lay all about;
The hay is old and spent.
Yet rests the babe, with mother near,
In every way content.

The beasts are still, the light is faint,
The rags are small and worn.
And all can sense with quiet ease
The Savior who is born.

Now does he raise his tiny hand
And smile with simple joy;
Love's gaze in faces all around
Supply his only toy.

No trains, no cars, no fancy games
Are given here this night.
But human comfort, care, and love
Provide God’s true delight.

For shepherd, sheep, and kings alike
'Tis plenty to behold;
This vision of our God enfleshed
In greater good than gold.

Creation's best, and some besides,
Dwells there for all to see.
The simple truths are quite at hand,
Just waiting to go free.

A gift of self, a gift of time,
A love spread out as leaven,
Share in this truth, this mystery lived,
Of earth enjoined with heaven.

If Christ was borne that night to us,
And we as much do say,
Then should we not with eager heart
Bear him in mind today?

For this I know, a simple fact,
Yet charged with certainty:
That what we do with Christ this day
Does change eternity.

The gifts we have, the gifts we share,
Have never been our own.
They have been borne by God for us;
They are the royal throne.

Stand still, dear friend,
and look about,
While stars and night do sing
With brilliant light and mystic sound:
"All glory to the King!"