Narrating Grace

Christmas Eve Poem for 2016

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I wrote and read this poem as my sermon for the Christmas Eve worship services at Christ the King yesterday. May God’s arrival as the Christ child inspire you to know joy, serve your neighbor and work for peace this season and all year.

The dark is where it will begin
There is no room in any inn
A young couple waits for their babe
Remembering the word from Gabe-

riel, God’s messenger of good news
Mary can do nothing but muse
On the miracle of a Lord
Who chose her, a lowly and poor

Girl to carry the Messiah
To sing of the rich denied a
Place and the hungry filled up with
Food, and goodness, and hope and joy

All because of this baby boy.

Joseph, too, unsure of his place
In a role beyond time and space
The father of Emmanuel
God with us, all things shall be well

Wrapped in cloths, placed in a manger
His parents worry of danger
Would the power of God disrupt the world?
This baby boy, whose finger curled

Around Mary’s finger, would turn
The world upside down; all will learn

Of the power of the vulnerable
The disruption of the comfortable
The comforting of the miserable
The scatter of the egotistical
The blessing and hope of the merciful
The reorder of the preferable
The noticing of the un-see-able
The neighboring of the unfriend-able
The embracing of the unlovable

This baby boy is incomparable!

The shepherds watch the flocks by night
The sky sparkles with holy light
An angel before them appeared
They’d never seen something so weird

They stand and quake within their shoes
The angel cries, “I bring you news!”
“Don’t be afraid. The news is good.”
A weary world will know God could

Come in human form. And God did.
The baby, Messiah, a kid
Lying in a manger, a child
Right now he may look meek and mild

But soon the world will know his name
Nothing will ever be the same
Now God has come in human form
To know our woes, our hearts to warm

Then the sky explodes with the host
A band from heaven, and the most
Spectacular sight anyone
Has had the chance to lay eyes on

Angels spreading across the sky
Heavenly beings join the cry
Glory to God in heaven high
And on earth peace to all who cry

For justice, and love, and new life
For an end to suff’ring and strife
For God’s blessing has come anew
God’s grace and mercy are for you

The shepherds look up in wonder
The angels leave and they under-
stand they’ve been chosen to see Him
Messiah, God in human form
To Bethlehem they go with haste
There isn’t any time to waste

They can’t believe they have this task
So over and over, they ask,
“Why did God choose us for this job
When it really should be a mob

Of the rich and influential
And we’re just a few ne’er-do-well
Shepherds outside with other’s sheep
How were we picked, this news to keep

When it should be kings and princes
That God convinces
To see the Christ-child and adore
…they have so much more.”

But maybe God didn’t come to the rich
God came for all, and roles have switched
Our eyes will get to see the boy
And our voices God will employ

To tell the world of God in human form
Now flipping what has been the norm
God chances to be one of us
But the world isn’t ready, plus

Violence, hate and fear rule the day
There doesn’t seem to be a way
For God’s Word to be heard AND STILL

The baby is born.

And He will

Shine light in the darkness
Give hope to the hopeless
Spread joy to the joyless
Bring faith to the faithless
Grant love to the loveless

And Mary ponders it all in her heart
As the shepherds make haste and start
To proclaim the good news to all they’ve known
And heard and seen. What God has shown

To people so unexpected
A quiet wonder reflected
In Mary’s eyes as in her arms
A baby squirms and cries and yawns
A future unknown.
A child-king whose throne

Is a manger of straw.
Mary’s heart is in awe

Of all he will do.

Of all he’ll make new.

Of all he’ll endure.

She isn’t so sure
She wants to let go
But for now she’ll know
Emmanuel, Lord
On high, Son of God
Will sleepily nod
Off snuggled so tight
Tonight is a night

To know the promise of God’s love
That we’re all undeserving of
So as you trim your tree tonight
And sing hymns of radiant light
As you put gifts under the tree
Or miss a loved one, you will see

My prayer for you is of the joy
Of God arriving as a boy
If you’re happy, or sad, or scared
This story has prepared

Your heart to see anew
God’s love and grace for you.
So as you celebrate
This baby boy so great

Glory to God in heaven high
And peace to you that’s drawing nigh.
Watch all the shepherds do it well
You need to listen, see and tell
You may be scared to say it wrong
Look to the words of Mary’s song
And serve your neighbor with great joy
All because of this baby boy.

Amen.

 

 

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