For this first newsletter of 2021, I offer you three poems gleaned from Christmas cards that span 30+ years: 1987, 2000, and 2021. And then some music at the end that really ushers in a new year!
Feast of the Epiphany
Today, January 6th, is the traditional Feast of Epiphany, the story of the Three Kings or Wise Men. It is also the day the Eastern Orthodox Churches celebrates Christmas. Let us take some time to re-read Matthew 2:1-12 and reflect on this familiar story and the invitation it holds for us.
This poem was received in 1987, as sent out by Archbishop Raymond Hunthausen. He referenced it as "from an Iranian Christmas card."
If, as with Herod,
we fill our lives with things,
and again with things,
if we consider ourselves
so important that we must fill
every moment of our lives with action,
when will we have the time
to make the long, slow journey
across the burning desert
as did the Magi?
Or sit and watch the stars
as did the shepherds?
Or brood over the coming of the child
as did Mary?
For each of us
there is a desert to travel
a star to discover
and a being within ourselves
to bring to life.
I wrote this poem for our Christmas letter in 2000, the turn to a new millennium. Remember when Y2K seemed scary?
I offer it to you again twenty years later--though it feels like so many more. Once again we find ourselves on the cusp of change beyond our doing, perhaps, even, beyond our understanding, compelled nonetheless to grapple with its meaning in our lives and world, with the rare opportunity to make choices that affect the future.
We can pass through a door and not know our own leaving
or we can pause on the threshold and consider the meaning.
At the intersection of what was and what will be exists this moment,
holding within it the portent of past and promise of future
Pause at the threshold, the place where worlds mingle,
the place of learning between known and unknown,
horizon joining sea and sky,
dream that exists between wakefulness and slumber.
Such meetings, such minglings, are sacred spaces
for they speak to us of Incarnation,
of that one time, that one place
when heaven touched earth
in the person of a Child.
Written in April of 2020, this poem by Laura Kelly Fanucci, quickly spread over the internet and came to us with the Christmas card from Pastor Karen and Jeremy Fowler-Lindmuller of United Lutheran, Bella Vista, AR. (photo courtesy of Andrea Piacquadio, Pexels.com)
I share her hope of something better, something more than the way things used to be. May we all be changed for the good.
WHEN THIS IS OVER
- Laura Kelly Fanucci
"When this is over,
may we never again take for granted:
A handshake with a stranger,
Full shelves at the store,
Conversations with neighbors,
A crowded theater,
Friday night out,
The taste of communion,
A routine checkup,
The school rush every morning,
Coffee with a friend,
The stadium roaring,
Each deep breath!
A boring Tuesday.
When this ends, may we find that we have become more like the people we wanted to be,
we were called to be,
we hope to be,
and may we stay that way--
better for each other because of the worst."
A parting gift for you, this YouTube clip of CBU University Choir and Orchestra performing the opening lines from the Gospel of John, "In the beginning..." Talk about joy, hope and Good News! I can think of no better proclamation for the new year, lifting our hearts and minds to the grand cosmic purpose that is the coming of the Christ for all time, for our time. Let the joy on these youthful faces, the beauty of the music, and the power of John's message lift us all. Enjoy! In the Beginning...
|| As always, I love to hear from you. Maybe let me know which of these poems was your favorite--or share another. You can contact me at
BTW these two pictures were taken three days apart!!