I. WE WAIT ON THE LORD by Hari Smith
Life is a journey. How long that journey will be is unknown to us. We must take the journey in faith, not knowing where the next step will take us. Our constant questions are always haunting our minds. What is my destination? How will I know when I have arrived if I have no concept of where I’m supposed to be? What is expected of me once I finally get there?
These queries only serve to give us a sense of worried anticipation. To overcome this feeling of desperation, it is imperative that we learn to wait on the Lord.
Waiting on the Lord doesn’t mean there is nothing we can do to help ourselves. Especially during this horrible pandemic. We can lift ourselves out of this abysmal gloom by following the prescribed guidelines of practicing social distancing, constant hand washing and wearing masks.
As we wait on the Lord, let’s call on the Lord. Since we are called by his name let’s humble ourselves and pray, seek his face and turn from our wicked ways as he has implored us to do. He has given us his promise to hear our voices, forgive our sins and heal our land.
Let’s mount up on our eagle’s wings and soar above the fray of this pandemic. Let’s run to victory for we know we won’t grow weary. We wait on the Lord to make us a blessing to others when all seems lost. Though this might seem like our darkest hour, even so Lord Jesus come, as we wait for you.
II. Resurrection in a Modern Church by Melissa Bancks
“You must change your life.”
- Mary Oliver, “Invitation”
Today the floors gleam
With the pre-storm blue that fills the pulpit
And washes down the aisle
From pew to pew
As if the whole place were a baptismal pool
As if each of us who waits for the blessing
That is written in each of our names
And millions of names we’ll never know
Will find it --
As if each has agreed
Without speech, just a gentle nod
And a long look
That we are ready to fall
Under water’s great weight,
As if we can trust
We’ll rise and breathe,
That so many who lived
the Word And loved this room
before us, who trusted
Who have gone on and crossed
Styx to the bank beyond
And wait not for answers
But for us --
As if they can see us and hear us
And believe in us --
the Book’s values are their values,
Are our values
His words are theirs are in our mouths
As we lift from the water for air
And then stand dripping
to witness these windows
When they catch
The late afternoon light,
The blue storm moving through us,
The air rich with its scent,
Its charged current
Beautiful and dangerous--
It will change your life
It will take your life
No other gift like this
III. "Grandpapa And The Angel
For Grandmama" by Judy Carter Gurley
The Angel knocked and knocked again
And called through the door,
"Please, please dear sir, please let me in,
I'll only knock once more."
"I only come to speak to you
I come not as before
Please Sir, just come and hear me speak;
Please open up the door."
Then from within she heard the words
of him who lay abed,
"I know why you are here again;
I will not go," he said.
"I ask just that you hear me speak,"
the distraught angel pled;
"You've come just as you did before;
I will not go," he said.
And then she heard his feeble voice
with fire still in his eyes,
"Go on and say just what you will,
But I'll not go," he cried.
At that she op'ed the rusty door
and to the bed she ran.
Once there she softly touched his head
And knelt and kissed his hand.
Oh good kind Sir, I come to tell you
of what lies ahead.
But then he stopped her with a nod
"I will not go," he said.
"Oh dear, dear man why must you wait?
I've asked you ten times this.
Why must you always tell me 'No,'
When I speak of love and bliss?
For first you'll see our heavenly Father
and wonderful you'll feel
As with the touch of a healing hand
You'll be no longer ill.
And you could walk within the woods
As once you loved to do,
And see the quail and deer and bear
and mink and raccoon, too.
You'll sit and hold a friendly squirrel
and pet a trusting doe.
And laugh your jolly silent laugh
at things going on below.
All these and then a million more things
wait for you above.
Why will you not come back with me
to the place of God and Love?"
"I'll tell you why I've answered no
each time that you have come;
I have here those whom I love,
my daughters and my sons.
And my Mary most of all
so you see that you must let
me stay with them these other years;
I must not leave them yet."
"But Sir, the place where you will go,
there is no hurt to mend,
You'll sit and see all your children
Perhaps can help them now and then.
And you will kiss your Mary
with every drop of rain;
And you will hold her close to you
as clouds sweep by again.
And you can hover near her
Whenever snowflakes fall;
And always you'd be there to hear
if ever she should call.
And then you could caress her
with every ray of sun;
And she will surely understand
for she knows your work is done."
He thought of Mary and his life
and slowly shook his head,
"I think I'll wait just one more hour
and then I'll go," he said.
"If you will tell my Mary and
my children not to grieve,
For I know where I am going
and I'm ready now to leave."
IV. WHAT DOES IT MEAN? by Cindy Collins
I'm told He was born in a manger
With the sheep all around? . . . What a danger!
I'm told He's a gift from our Father
But I'm also a kid! What's the bother?
I'm told there were prophets foretelling
I'd like to know what they were selling!
I'm told there were wise men come calling
Without a smart phone? How appalling!
I'm told that they call Him the Great I Am
But the Mary I know had a little lamb.
I'm told Joseph took Mary to Bethlehem
On a donkey?!! . . . What could she have thought of him?
I'm told shepherds said they saw angels in the sky!
But I have to wonder if they were all high.
I'm told angels sang of "Peace on Earth"
But only because of a baby's birth?
I'm told He was born to save even me!
But I've got to wonder just how this could be.
He was only a baby so long, long ago
But He sounds like someone I'd like to know.
All these stories, they're telling me of things I've not seen
I can't help but wonder . . . Just what does it mean?
V. Christmas Poem for 2020 by Brooke Justis
Disease spreads like new growth
With fear at its deepest root.
While we sit and wait—
To save us
We are free birds
Now bound to our nests
To save ourselves
Some of us mourn.
Some feel the end will never come.
But, on this day of all days
The fog lifts
For hearts broken
We reach up our hands
To you who knows our pain
And you offer a chance for
VI. Christmas Fire by Jerry Keeney
What is this fire, this Christmas fire
That ignites the world’s life?
Is it desire, this Christmas fire,
That simmers ‘mid earth’s strife?
Desire: Love’s Fire,
Spark in the heart of God,
Igniting the Creator’s delight,
Sparks, too, in the heart of our clod:
Aglow ‘spite the pall of earth’s plight.
Fire: Desire’s Fire,
Living flame of God’s love
Burning the bush that isn’t consumed,
Birthing a Cosmos thereof:
Landscape where Life’s hope dares bloom.
Light: Desire’s Light,
Patterns of insight, the Way,
Emerging as moments evolve,
Recombinant Wisdom, new Day:
Grace’s forms forged of resolve.
The Fire of this Light,
Revered though it burn
And threaten harsh loss,
Yields all the heart yearns.
The Light of this Fire
All-hallowed with Good,
Illumining earth’s night,
Its evil withstood.
Ignite us within:
Is this what we pray
When we sing, Christmas Day,
“Be born in us,” again?
Take care how ye pray;
Now this may seem cruel,
But if God is the Fire,
Then we must be fuel.
So, rekindle our hearts,
Spark of God, as we pray:
O holy Child of
Be born in us today.
Caveat to Christmas Fire by Jerry Keeney: Some poems turn out to be well-woven patterns of image and theme, delivering sparks of insight, maybe even wisdom. Others turn out to be a hodge-podge of occasionally rhyming words that deliver only a faint hint of wannabe wisdom, reaching just short of their aim. Even such poems as these, perhaps, can spark a hearer/reader’s intrigue, opening portals through which may pour the poem’s aspirational longings, unrequited in present form. Maybe this is part of poetry’s vocation. Maybe a spark, though flickering weakly, can be sited here, sighted faintly, cited for its faint warmth felt, even here; if so, may its beckoning draw us in. Even faint light is light, may even be Light, and faint Light penetrates deepest dark.