God Among Us: Even In Us

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Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”
John 3: 6-8

 

To look at the last great self-portraits of Rembrandt or to read Pascal or hear Bach’s B-minor Mass is to know beyond the need for further evidence that if God is anywhere, he is with them, as he is also with the man behind the meat counter, the woman who scrubs floors at Roosevelt Memorial, the high-school math teacher who explains fractions to the bewildered child. And the step from “God with them” to Emmanuel, “God with us,” may not be as great as it seems.

What keeps the wild hope of Christmas alive year after year in a world notorious for dashing all hopes is the haunting dream that the child who was born that day may yet be born again even in us and our own snowbound, snowblind longing for him.
~Frederick Buechner

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Christina Rossetti, a great 19th century poet, reminds us in her pithy earthy words below, how heaven could not hold God.  Even though He is worshiped by angels, it is enough for Him to be held in His mother’s arms, His face kissed, His tummy full, to be bedded in a manger.  It is enough for Him, and He is enough for us — even born in us, poor as we are — snowbound and ice-locked as we are in our longing for something more.

Our hearts are enough for Him who came here when heaven could not hold Him.
Imagine that.
~EPG

 

 

In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter, long ago.

Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him, nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away when He comes to reign.
In the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.

Enough for Him, whom cherubim, worship night and day,
Breastful of milk, and a mangerful of hay;
Enough for Him, whom angels fall before,
The ox and ass and camel which adore.

Angels and archangels may have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim thronged the air;
But His mother only, in her maiden bliss,
Worshipped the beloved with a kiss.

What can I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
Yet what I can I give Him: give Him my heart.
~Christina Rossetti 1872

Who hears?
Who hears the voice of the hungry, the thirsty?

Who sees?
Who sees the tears of the suffering ones?

Imagine a King who would come through the darkness
And walk where I walk, full of greatness,
And call me to His side,
Just like a Father and child.

Who knows?
Who knows the hopes that lie hidden forgotten?
Who comes?
Who comes to lead all the children home?
~Kristyn Getty

 

Still, still, still,
One can hear the falling snow.
For all is hushed,
The world is sleeping,
Holy Star its vigil keeping.
Still, still, still,
One can hear the falling snow.

Sleep, sleep, sleep,
‘Tis the eve of our Saviour’s birth.
The night is peaceful all around you,
Close your eyes,
Let sleep surround you.
Sleep, sleep, sleep,
‘Tis the eve of our Saviour’s birth.

Dream, dream, dream,
Of the joyous day to come.
While guardian angels without number,
Watch you as you sweetly slumber.
Dream, dream, dream,
Of the joyous day to come.

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God Among Us: A Kind of Cleaving

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In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world.

14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
from John 1

 

photo by Nate Gibson
photo by Nate Gibson

 

What matters is what occurs occurs
Between them, not to them. It’s only that
The angel doesn’t matter, nor the virgin.
A blade of light scissors the air

Between them. To them it’s only that:
A glancing blow, or a kind of cleaving,
A blade of light. Scissor the air
Wide open, then it happens:

A glance, a blow, error a kind of cleaving—
Of? Or to? So something else can enter.
Open wide then. It happens
Those two forget themselves, not knowing—

What, or who?—so something else can enter
And, in entering, replace them.
We can’t forget ourselves. Knowing
Carelessness has brought us to the point

Where in entering we replace them.
The angel doesn’t matter, nor the virgin.
Carelessness has brought us to the point.
What is matters. What occurs occurs.
~Katherine Coles “Annunciation”

 

Sometimes
for the light to replace
where darkness thrives,
there must be wounding
that tears us open,
cleaving us so joy can enter
where we hurt the most.
EPG

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Fullness of grace in man’s human frailty
This is the wonder of Jesus.
Laying aside His power and glory,
Humbly He entered our world.
Chose the path of meanest worth:
Scandal of a virgin birth.
Born in a stable, cold and rejected:
Here lies the hope of the world.
Fullness of grace, the love of the Father
Shown in the face of Jesus.
Stooping to bear the weight of humanity,
Walking the Calvary road.
Christ the holy Innocent
Took our sin and punishment.
Fullness of God, despised and rejected:
Crushed for the sins of the world.
Fullness of hope in Christ we had longed for,
Promise of God in Jesus.
Through His obedience we are forgiven,
Opening the floodgates of heaven.
All our hopes and dreams we bring
Gladly as an offering.
Fullness of life and joy unspeakable:
God’s gift in love to the world.

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Listening to Lent — In Endless Light

 

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What grace is mine that He who dwells in endless light
Called through the night to find my distant soul
And from his scars poured mercy that would plead for me
That I might live and in his name be known

So I will go wherever He is calling me
I lose my life to find my life in Him
I give my all to gain the hope that never dies
I bow my heart, take up my cross and follow Him

What grace is mine to know His breath alive in me
Beneath his wings my wakened soul may soar
All fear can flee for death’s dark night is overcome
My Savior lives and reigns forevermore

So I will go…
~Kristyn Getty