Archive for December, 2009


In the darkness of Christmas eve

I stand under the back porch roof,

   listening to the rain falling gently

   on the almost melted snow.

As most of us do every year, I had hoped the

   precipitation of this precious eve

   would fall in the form of snowflakes,

   the big and soft ones,

   the kind of snowflakes that appear

   on the covers of glossy, colorful

   Christmas cards we receive each year.


In the darkness of the holy eve

She rested under the roof of the stable,

   listening to the first breaths of her son

   among the rhythmic breathing of the animals.

Certainly, before this night, she had heard stories of the women

   who gather to attend to a birth.

Had she hoped for a clean room,

   with women kin-folk present,

   or at least the midwife of the region who knew which

   songs of labor to sing,

   herbs and tinctures to use to lessen the pain,

   positions to try to ease the pushing and groaning,

   blessings to pronounce at the taking of his first God-given breath?


We long for the comfortable and familiar,

   for the “shoulds” of how we want life to be.

But once again, You break into our lives

   in unexpected places, unfamiliar ways,

And give birth to Your love.

And You desire of us to do the same.


The ground may be mucky with mud and rain,

   or the floor covered with straw and tufts of fur.

We may shiver in the cold or wish the pain would lessen.

But Your love doesn’t need the ideal conditions for being birthed.

Your desire only a willing heart,

   a heart that will open, if even a crack,

   a heart that says, in perhaps a quiet whisper,

       Let it be with me, according to Thy word.



Christmas Blessings to one and all!



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Winter Woods


   “In winter

I can see deeper

into the woods. 



  I am thankful

for winter eyes.”

                       ~Kathy Sherman

Ahhhhhhhhhhhh. . .


  (Photos of Asylum Preserve and my backyard)

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3rd Sunday in Advent

When there are unexpected bumps on the road I often turn to music.  So this week, late as it is in this third week of Advent, I offer the words of one of my favorite Advent hymns: “People, Look East”

People, look east. The time is near

Of the crowning of the year.

Make your house fair as you are able,

Trim the hearth and set the table….

Love the guest is on the way.


Furrow, be glad. Though earth is bare,

One more seed is planted there:

Give up your strength the seed to nourish,

That in course the flower may flourish…

Love the rose is on the way.


 Birds, though you long have ceased to build,

Guard the next that must be filled.

Even the hour when wings are frozen

God for fledging time has chosen….

Love the bird is on the way.


Stars, keep the watch. When night is dim

One more light the bowl shall brim,

Shining beyond the frosty weather,

Bright as sun and moon together….

Love the star is on the way.

                                     ~Eleanor Farjeon

Such mystery and willingness that must have dwelt deep in Mary’s heart as she prepared to give birth to Love.  Is that part of the mystery of preparing our homes, decorating the tree, baking the cookies, putting up the lights in these days of dark hours, seeking out the melody over and over again of our favorite carols?  Is the pause in these activities, when we allow it, our own willingness finding a way to give birth to Love in our corners of the world?  In whatever way you are setting the table in these days, may your heart look east for the guest about to come.

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2nd Sunday in Advent

This past Sunday we sang, “God with us, revealed in us.”  Hmmm, I wonder what or who that looks like.  Christine at  Abbey of the Arts, quotes Antonio Machado in her December 5th post  with these provocative words: “Wanderer, there is no road, the road is made by walking.”  You mean there’s no clear path to follow?  Revealed in us but we don’t know how? 

Once again our journey of faith presents us with a paradox: we usually don’t know ahead of thyme where the path may lead, how our lives might unfold or when God may unexpectedly break into our lives.  So we learn to pay attention, stretch and make room for the unknown, and continue one step at a thyme while taking notice of…

the gifts and lessons of creation,


who was first at the manger,        



how God might be revealed in new life



As you journey through this season of Advent,

may you watch for God to be revealed

the road ahead and deep within yourself.

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While Stretching


While stretching, reaching

for the top of the door frame,

the Spirit gently nudges:


make room,

reach for new life.


Isn’t this the

invitation of Advent?

To stretch and breath deeply?

To make room for the Holy One?

To reach for new life?

To touch hope?


I hope so!


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