Overlooked — Mitch Teemley

Some of my friends’ birthdays fall on or near Christmas day and so, sadly, they tend to be overlooked. Take my friend Jesus, for example.

via Overlooked — Mitch Teemley

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“Christmas Tears” (A Christmas poem)

Some tears will fall this Christmas day
Though baby has been born
Because we wait the other day
When tears will be no more.

The Second Advent, He descends
To take us to our home.
God with us ‘til very end,
He sees you and shall come.

So hope is real this Christmas day
Although some tears may fall,
For God did do as God did say
And He’ll restore us all.

~~~

I wanted to write something to acknowledge the many griefs magnified during the holiday season for many people. God sees your tears. Christmas proves God keeps His promises and comes to us. And He will come again and wipe every tear from your eye.

Breath of God (Merry Christmas)

Love is in the air as the Messiah takes His first breath.

Inhale: This I so love.
Exhale: Peace.

By His breath He made the world; now in this world He breathes it in.

Inhale: Sorrow.
Exhale: Hope.

Love is in the air as the Messiah takes his last breath.

Inhale: Wrath.
Exhale: It is finished.

From his breath-inspired Word, catch a glimpse of glory giv’n.

Inhale: Truth.
Exhale: Hallelujah!

~~~

The first reference to God’s breath in the Bible is in Genesis 2 when God creates humans. Verse 7 says, “then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.” He breathes out, breathing into us, our very sustenance.

Then in Genesis 8 the Lord smells the pleasing aroma of Noah’s sacrifice to God after the flood, and God promises to never curse the ground or destroy all living things. He breathes in, intaking praise.

The God of the Bible contrasts with manmade idols, including all lifeless things to which we give our devotion. The psalmist in Psalm 115 mocks such idols: “They have mouths, but do not speak; eyes, but do not see. They have ears, but do not ear; noses, but do not smell.” But our God is alive. Moreover, He breathed in the most literal, human sense.

When Jesus first breathed in and out that Christmas night, it was, I’m sure, perfectly ordinary. His breath wasn’t a different color. And I doubt it smelled like a box of Altoids. He didn’t blow out magical shapes like a wizard with a pipe. There was a normal exchange of molecules in the air: nitrogen, oxygen, carbon dioxide, plus some others.

And yet what is ordinary about God in human form? 

What is ordinary about a king taking the form of a servant?

What is ordinary about choosing to endure pain?

Yet so it began in the stable. Love is always more than ordinary.

Christmas highlights the great paradox. The beautiful irony of the Incarnation.

Christmas brings us the perfect gift. The only solution to our sin.

I love Christmas. I love the quiet commencement of substutionary atonement (starkly contrasting the consumeristic fanfare that overtakes stores and homes alike). I envy the shepherds more than I should, pondering how they breathed in the scientifically insignificant but spiritually symbolic air full of fresh breath from heaven.

I come to the stable, breathe in deep, and behold the Breath-giver.

“Advent” – by Sr. Christine Schenk

Advent

by Sister Christine Schenk

I wait
with quickened hope
for crooked paths
to straighten,
with tough-soul’d
anguish,
while blinded
keepers of the keys
shut out
God’s own.

(If such a thing were possible.)

I wait,
and will not be
dismayed.
I wait,
and will not be
dismayed.

For tiny shoot
of Jesse tree
took root in me
to love
transform,
give sight
set free.

“Throne of Glory” (A Christmas Poem)

Throne of glory filled with hay, there in a cattle stall
Majesty, on it was laid, our King and Lord of all.

Lifter of my head as babe who couldn’t lift His own
Latent power, love displayed, the King lay on his throne.

Manger held the King that night whom cribs did not accept.
He who has so loved the world, the world would still reject.

Good Shepherd slept among the sheep for that was his path
to willingly lay down his life for lambs deserving wrath.

Humble Savior, King enthroned upon a mound of hay
Star awakens souls to sing Him everlasting praise.

When the busyness wins the day . . .

I had been hoping to post an original poem every Advent Sunday in addition to Christmas, but unfortunately, I am extremely busy at the moment with final exams. I will post again sometime next weekend, and I hope to post several times a week during my break.

In the meantime, here is stunning Advent poem by Richard Wilbur. Also, here he is reading it and talking about it.

“A Christmas Hymn”

by Richard Wilbur

A stable-lamp is lighted
Whose glow shall wake the sky;
The stars shall bend their voices,
And every stone shall cry.
And every stone shall cry,
And straw like gold shall shine;
A barn shall harbor heaven,
A stall become a shrine.
This child through David’s city
Shall ride in triumph by;
The palm shall strew its branches,
And every stone shall cry.
And every stone shall cry,
Though heavy, dull, and dumb,
And lie within the roadway
To pave His kingdom come.
Yet He shall be forsaken,
And yielded up to die;
The sky shall groan and darken,
And every stone shall cry.
And every stone shall cry
For stony hearts of men:
God’s blood upon the spearhead,
God’s love refused again.
But now, as at the ending,
The low is lifted high;
The stars shall bend their voices,
And every stone shall cry.
And every stone shall cry
In praises of the child
By whose descent among us
The worlds are reconciled.

“Behind the Scenes” (An Advent Poem)

Before we knew it, Jesus was alive on earth
in the womb,
human heart beating, little feet kicking,
viable,
vying for us
from the beginning.

Take heart, He is with us.

When He’s behind the scenes
when we’re still waiting,
He’s growing
a plan into fruition
for our good, for His glory.

Carefully arranging
fulfillment of the prophecies
as the baby grew,
pushing them toward Bethlehem,
He shaped their paths
“as it is written.”

So while we were still wandering
still hoping,
still longing,
the Messiah was already here—
behind the scenes
about to make His entrance.

~~~

I wrote this poem after contemplating something I had never given much thought before: Jesus spent nine months in the womb before Christmas. While Mary, Joseph, and some others may have known the Messiah was en route, most Jews would have been completely unaware that their Savior, though unseen, was already on earth. Nine months before Christmas, Jesus already had His human DNA, and His body was being formed. He was already God incarnate. And He was not far off.

How true it is for us as well—that many times when we believe God is far off, He is doing something important and amazing behind the scenes, doing things instrumental to the fulfillment of His promises and will. In due time He will reveal to us His purposes. And in all times we can trust Him for He is good.

Amazing Words from an Advent Devotional

A Facebook friend recently shared an online Advent devotional she’s been doing recently, and I decided to check it out (you should too!). Each day (or most of them) has a song, poem, Scripture, and devotional portion. Here is one poem I read that is so touching and full of truth.

The Coming
by R.S. Thomas

And God held in his hand
A small globe. Look he said.
The son looked. Far off,
As through water, he saw
A scorched land of fierce
Color. The light burned
There; crusted buildings
Cast their shadows: a bright
Serpent, A river
Uncoiled itself, radiant
With slime.
On a bare
Hill a bare tree saddened
The sky. Many People
Held out their thin arms
To it, as though waiting
For a vanished April
To return to its crossed
Boughs. The son watched
Them. Let me go there, he said.

~~~

Wow.