Monday, 25 December 2017

Christmas Poem: The Soul Felt Its Worth

O holy night the stars are brightly shining, It is the night of our dear Savior's birth
Long lay the world in sin and error pining, Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth

The soul felt its worth
The soul felt its worth
The soul felt its worth


When this story whispered | SHOUTED | sungggggg

That salvation for the world can be nurtured in the belly of an unmarried teenager
That towns-often-mocked might inspire choruses that endure for centuries (like Basingstoke?)
That angels will put on a show for the smelliest and most socially awkward (Glorrrriaaaaa - imagine friend dressed in sequins and fairy lights singing this)
That Zoroastrian mystics were invited to the party by a message . from . space …. ?

...Because the planets were communicating, galaxy choirs singing, stars spinning sparking sparkling in delight, and LIGHT, all that bright and beamy light, bursting burning spitting firing light - all in honour of the Lord of Light - descending like morning dew after a long long long night

And the story tell us
That even the divine experienced life on the edges from the beginning -
As one who was not quite from the places they lived in.
Accommodation temporary, a fleeing refugee.
And yet, knowing their identity:

The answer to prophets and prayer and years and years of waiting
(He wasn’t expected to look like this. Where is our sword-bearing King?)
And yet somehow in fragile humanity
The Simeons and Annas and the wild cousin and always, the children,
Saw - here at last - redemption - for all within and without this nation

The soul felt its worth - Because the god-human - Saw and Spoke it:

Saying: Blessed are the meek and the mourners and the merciful

Don’t you know?

Souls are worth more than fishes, than riches, than ‘looking right’, even

Saying: YOU are the salt and the light

You mother, you doubter, you disgraced, you do-gooder, you cheater, you tired, you caught in the act, you young one, you priest, you prophet, you busy in the kitchen, you waiting waiting waiting, you pilgrim, you chasing the glory, you hungry

You are the salt and light

You’re the change, the flavour,  the grit, the beacon, the refuge, the welcome
So stop. Turn around. Repent. Return. Come home.

Listen to the new name I have for you - the old name given you before the dark left its mark
Listen to your new-old name - I’m calling you
Listen to the hope I see in you

Hope that makes us look beyond the here and now
Hope that:

Made Ruth and Rahab leave their homes to join a family line of kings and carpenters
Made the carpenter marry the girl, anyways -- and name her child as his son
Made the girl treasure all she sees and hears -- to bring out on a howling bloody day
And not give up when the afternoon grows dark and the earth shakes
Makes the earth keep turning and call forth life from scattered seeds
Makes seeds break open despite the risk of being crushed as soon as they reach the surface

And the hope is in us and for us


The people living in darkness have seen a great light;
On those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned
(O Holy Night continues: A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new glorious morn...)


Wrote this for my church's Christmas Carol Service, which is always a colourful and creative affair. Three of us performed this together, after O Holy Night started playing out of a box full of lights... :-) Happy Christmas One and All x

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