The Places of Christmas

What He Sees

We are God’s chosen ones, even when our world does not choose us. Long before any human being saw us, we are seen by God’s loving eyes. Long before anyone heard us cry or laugh, we are heard by our God who is all ears for us. Long before any person spoke to us in this world, we are spoken to by the voice of eternal love.
— Henri Nouwen, Life of the Beloved

Luke 5:12-16

Sunday, December 27, 2015

The Temple

Before the time of cords and scourges and lamentation
Grant us thy peace.
Before the stations of the mountain of desolation,
Before the certain hour of maternal sorrow,
Now at this birth season of decease,
Let the Infant, the still unspeaking and unspoken Word,
Grant Israel’s consolation
To one who has eighty years and no to-morrow.
— T.S. Eliot, “A Song for Simeon”

Luke 2:22-38

Sunday, December 20, 2015

A Pondering Heart

Lo, faithful virgin, yields Himself to lie
In prison, in thy womb; and though He there
Can take no sin, nor thou give, yet He will wear,
Taken from thence, flesh, which death’s force may try.
Ere by the spheres time was created, thou
Wast in His mind, who is thy Son and Brother;
Whom thou conceivst, conceived; yea thou art now
Thy Maker’s maker, and thy Father’s mother;
Thou hast light in dark, and shutst in little room,
Immensity cloistered in thy dear womb.
— John Donne

Matthew 1:18-25 and Luke 2:18-19

Sunday, December 13, 2015

A Shepherd's Field

Into the stable they straggled, poor and dirty,
hardly suitably dressed for polite society.
Had we been Joseph
we would have feared robbery.
Had we been Mary
we would have feared germs around our newborn.
Had we been God
these are not ones we would have chosen
to first come and see the Child.
After all, they showed a certain carelessness
about the rules of the church.
And yet, God-chosen, they came
to kneel and worship him
whom we would later call the Good Shepherd.
Perhaps we could brush up on our humbleness.
— Ann Weems, "Had We Been There"

Luke 2:8-20

Sunday, December 6, 2015