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These are a few of my favorite things for the Christmas season

Wednesday December 30 2015

These are a few of my favorite things for the Christmas season

1. I “met” this poem when I was in my twenties, and it has remained my favorite Christmas poem: Mary’s Song by Lucy Shaw

Blue homespun and the bend of my breast
keep warm this small hot naked star
fallen to my arms. (Rest...
you who have had so far
to come.) Now nearness satisfies
the body of God sweetly. Quiet he lies
whose vigor hurled
a universe. He sleeps
whose eyelids have not closed before.
His breath (so slight it seems
no breath at all) once ruffled the dark deeps
to sprout a world.
Charmed by dove’s voices, the whisper of straw,
he dreams,
hearing no music from his other spheres.
Breath, mouth, ears, eyes
he is curtailed
who overflowed all skies,
all years.
Older than eternity, now he
is new. Now native to earth as I am, nailed
to my poor planet, caught that I might be free,
blind in my womb to know my darkness ended,
brought to this birth
for me to be new-born,
and for him to see me mended
I must see him torn.

2. Another favorite is the song, “Mary, did you know?” Here’s an intriguing version of it by Peter Hollen.

3. And here’s a new favorite, an email I received from Arise (Christians for Biblical Equality in Australia). It was written by Bronwen Speedie, the founder of the Western Australian-based ministry, God’s Design-Perth, which seeks to bring clarity, healing, and encouragement through the biblical message of the equality of men and women. She is the author of a Bible study and resource kit about biblical equality titled, Men and Women: God’s Design. She quoted from the song, “Mary did you know?” Then she wrote:

This led me to wonder what other things Mary may have pondered, hoped for, and even worried about. How might Mary’s own experience—as an unmarried, pregnant young woman in a cultural dichotomy of honor and shame—have shaped the questions she asked? With this in mind, I’ve added my own questions to those in the song. (Don’t try to sing along—I haven’t kept to the constraints of the tune.)

Mary, did you know that your Baby Boy, in whose face relatives will look for your chin or Joseph’s nose, is the creator from whom all humans are made?

Mary, did you know that your Baby Boy, the fruit of a pregnancy that local gossips considered a sinful stain on your character, will one day protect a woman from similar judgments? That he will turn the stones intended to kill a woman caught in adultery into tools to convict her accusers of their own sins?

Mary, did you know that your Baby Boy will lift the heads of countless women? That in opposition to the patriarchy of his culture, he will accept the touch of a menstruating woman, seek to protect the rights of women cast away in divorce, and reject service within the household as a woman’s sole or primary function?

Mary, did you know that your Baby Boy, whom you now nurse at your breast, is the Bread of Life, and that all who believe in him will never hunger or thirst again?

Mary, did you know that your Baby Boy, who will learn the Tanakh at the feet of the local rabbis with other boys, will open up the study of Scripture to women like yourself, encouraging them to learn at his feet as disciples?

Mary, did you know that your Baby Boy will not reveal his identity as Messiah to the male authorities of Israel, but will first announce this good news to a despised Samaritan woman?

Mary, did you know that your Baby Boy will inspire women over the course of two thousand years to exchange society’s restrictions for God’s calling?

Mary, did you know that your Baby Boy, whom you now wrap in swaddling clothes, will one day leave his folded grave clothes in an empty tomb?

Mary, did you know that your Baby Boy will choose as his witnesses, and the first to be sent out with the message of his resurrection, a group of “mere” women?

Mary, did you know that your own faithfulness to God’s calling will play a key role in bringing a savior into the world who will set women free?

 

Last December's Christmas posts:
     Upside-down Christmas
     Bringing my whole self to the manger

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