Monday, December 20, 2010

The Manger- from Our Father's Eyes

Jesus, memories of your birth are accompanied by predictions of your death. Life and death. Good and bad. Joy and struggle. I get distracted by thoughts of death/bad/struggles; sometimes focused on them. Some other times trying to ignore them. That’s one of the life lessons I’ve learned. Somehow we have to learn to experience and accept them both. But it doesn’t seem to be the instinctive way- at least not for me. I want the good times to last and I don’t want my balloons burst so to speak. I want to go to baptisms, not funerals. I want to be a saint (small s) and not a sinner. But I am BOTH. Sadness is followed by joy. Life is followed by death. Darkness is followed by LIGHT.

So this Christmas is different. Life is not all about blinking lights, jolly men giving away free gifts or even babies in mangers. The full picture includes the denials, the scourging and the wood of the cross. Joy- but tempered with wisdom and not only fantasy minded. Enjoy the decorations completely but somewhere in my mind must be the acceptance that they are only up for a season. The Chu8rch calendar makes it seem that one can focus on the manger scene and ignore the 6’ cross hanging above the main altar. I can’t do that this year. My brain’s efforts at compartmentalizing must give way to emotional flexibility. Dare I say vulnerability?? Reality vs. fantasy. Joy tempered by wisdom. Youth melting into maturity but with equal parts of both. Then I can appreciate the manger scene as God the Father must have. They myrrh wasn’t just a nice birthday present. It was at the burial as well. The mother didn’t just kneel at the foot of the manger. The manger wasn’t the only creation made from the tree.

To appreciate Christmas fully and really say THANK YOU for this indescribable gift I have to read the whole Gospel and look at the scent from God the Father’s eyes.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

a christmas poem

I Feel Chosen and Special

A dumb animal they call me.

They mock and use my name as a curse.

But I was the one grazing in the field that day when Joseph came.

He traded a carpentry tool for me and we began our long journey.

They were very kind to me on that trip to Bethlehem.

I didn't realize who the child in Mary's womb was.

But I felt chosen and so very special.

Three walls and a simple roof were all I had to offer.

No heat, no light, not even a door to protect them from the cold

But they seemed to be glad to find me and to rest here.

And I felt chosen and so very special.

All I really am is a container for food.

My name means "to eat".

Cows, horses, lambs - their mouths push into my center while they eat.

I wasn't clean. And I'm not very sturdy.

I had never carried so precious a bundle!

People were calling the baby boy an Infant King.

And I was his first throne: a manger.

I felt chosen and so very special.

None of them felt as unworthy as I.

I am the hay -course, cold and damp.

I am only good for animals to eat.

I was not the soft pillow or bed that a baby should have.

This infant has a rough beginning.

I wish I was softer, more supple and I smelled sweeter.

But I was the closest to his skin.

I felt chosen and so very special

He could have chosen a smarter, more faithful person.

He could have chosen a wiser, calmer,
more loving soul than mine.

But I am the one he calls the apple of his eye.

I am the one he holds in the palm of his hand.
I am the reason that his last throne was a crucifix

.I feel chosen and so very special