Advent reassessed

I’m-not sure we’ve got Advent entirely right
In-a-culture where its meaning has slipped out of sight
If it signifies-just chocolate and calendar doors
Then it’s time to revisit it, slow down, and press pause;
We think of this season as cosy and pretty
It’s anything but, it’s surprisingly gritty
Maybe it’ll help us to view it afresh
If we see how its themes with the world are enmeshed
With-what’s going on right now, this moment, right here
A world marked by violence and anguish and fear…
Think of people who-are sinking under spiralling costs
I think of Mary and Joseph, in a census town lost
Price of living, eat or heating, the clamour and din
I picture them struggling, ‘no room at the inn’
And when I see tyrants, their bitter seed sow
I remember God’s promise to-bring the proud ones so low
The only way I can handle the horrors of war
Is remembering that the mercy and grace-of-God are sure
‘Woman, life, freedom’, when I hear that brave cry
I-think how God honoured Mary – and the humble, lifted high
Even the World Cup, stirring frail hopes and dreams
Makes me think of a hope that is greater, and streams…
Of justice, that bubble in the desert, and flow
Cos God’s longing to love us and bless us you know
So don’t imagine Advent is cosy or tame
It’s fierce and it’s fearless – it won’t leave you the same

Image by Amber Clay from Pixabay

Narnia Christmas

Christmas once again is near us, do you feel its velvet tread
Through the schmaltz and gaudy trappings, can you trace a different thread
Join me as I ponder now a Narnia story, simple, spare
A frame though which to view the season, see what we’ll uncover there.

Will I have a heart like Lucy, stepping through the wardrobe door
One that’s open to enchantment, forest cones for wardrobe floor
Hungry, ready to discover hidden world of wintry white
A place beyond the ordinary, glimpsed through faith and not by sight?

Will I let the wonder of this Advent season work on me
In the drear of dark December, will I pause, and look, and see?
Lucy, spying glow of lamplight, tracked a path through wintry waste
Will my eyes to Light be open, primed this Christmas wine to taste?

Just as Lucy, trusting, followed after a mysterious faun
Ready to encounter stuff of miracle, of pale doubt shorn
Like the humble shepherds in the gospel, used to muck and mire
Will my heart be ready now to see the angels, hear the choir?

And as Lucy wisely left the portal open, chink of light
So that she could navigate her way back home in dead of night
Or like magi, journeying ‘cross foreign soil to seek the child
Will I seek the One who stills my stormy heart so restless, wild?

For a real Lucy, Lewis wrote this much loved ‘fairy tale’
Making fresh a truth beyond, that might have stayed opaque and pale
Every time I read, I feel my consciousness begin to shift
Again, and so may I be changed by swift approaching Christ-child gift.

Broadcast on BBC Radio Leeds & Premier Christian Radio

It’s Difficult this Christmas

It’s difficult this Christmas
Its meaning still to see,
Wondering what kind of end
Of year this one will be.

It’s harder now, when loved ones
We cannot so easily meet,
To trust the deeper Love –
It seems this year a tougher feat.

It’s harder when our wider culture
Yearly holds less dear
The startling news, that in a baby
God himself drew near.

To see beyond the stress –
And press of gaudy TV show,
Hard for the world to see
When it so little wants to know.

Not easy either in the dark
The solitude and space
Of my own heart, to catch a glimpse
Of that shy agent, grace.

Yet even when uncertainty
And fear close in like night
The Christ-child who in secret came
Still sheds abroad his light.

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Audio:

Christmas for sceptics

There’s a funny old thing about Christmas,
For many, it’s lost all its clout,
That seems a great pity so in this little ditty
I’ll ask, what’s that all about?

Lots of folk think it’s all superstition
Fairy tale, not science, just belief
Of all I could say, the fact we ALL live by faith
And not certainty is maybe the chief.

Although we are often to it more-or-less blind
We’re all living in some big story
A world view, big picture, I hope you won’t mind
Me saying that (just think Jackanory).

And when we consider the nature of things
It seems that when push comes to shove
At the heart of it all there’s either random blind chance
Or it’s rooted in the personal – and love.

From that reasonable base it’s no whopping sensation
To entertain the notion of God
Still mysterious though, so I need revelation
To be an enlightened smart bod.

That’s what happened at Christmas, the Love in all things
Came to show itself, the best way it could
Not by diktat, decree, but becoming, well human
Right amongst us, down here in the hood.

Not some fringe idea for the deluded or mad
Good news is what Christmas is about
It’s the best, a revelation of ultimate Love
From the rooftops I want it to shout!

Image by Andreas Böhm from Pixabay