Thursday, 24 December 2015

The Mystery

Luke 2:1-7
The Birth of Jesus
In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

Birth does not happen
just when the time is right
or when everything is ready
when we've done all the right things
or when we wait patiently ...
Even when carefully planned
and engineered
long awaited
or dreaded,
birth comes crashing in
bringing change
and disruption
The arrival of a baby
in the best of circumstances
brings upheaval that cannot be anticipated.
Whether homeless on the streets
Or camped in a refugees enclosure
Crouched in squalor
Or laying in a manger
Birth comes
Heralding joy and sorrow
excitement and danger
Signalling despair and hope
fear and longing.
Into melee and mystery
God is born.
The world is not suddenly transformed.
The experience of birth is no less traumatic
The chaos and squalor do not disappear.
But the air is charged with a new reality
that is seldom grasped:
A message for all:
You are deeply, deeply loved
by a God who is love.

Sunday, 6 December 2015

For a season

Grief caught me unawares this morning
as it is wont to do
Amidst the hope and the peace 
and the joy and the love
proclaimed by the Advent candles
grief snuck in
I want to push her away
ignore her
push her far down
into the recesses of my soul
where she can languish
until she decides to play nice.
But she keeps on surprising me
with her force and her persistence
with her ability to make me confront 
what ails me
or at least to consider
the reality of pain
being present
when all is good
and right
and life-giving.
To follow a call
does not grant immunity
from the pain of loss
and the vagaries
of transition.
And the comfort God promises
is slow to appear.
But maybe wholeness is found
in acknowledging, not denying
in welcoming, not ignoring
in sitting with grief as a companion
through whom God intends
to reveal purpose.
And perhaps healing will come
when the tasks of mourning are done.
In God's time
the landscape of loss
will be transformed
into newness of life.
The God of every transition
calls us, not to easy paths
but to paths 
that will help us grow.
And that promise
is the hope and the peace
and the love and the joy
of this season.
Thanks be to God.

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