O Mystery, remind me of my end,
and how measured my days;
keep me mindful how fleeting my life is.
Before I step into the new year
I let go of the old one.
What I have done I have done.
What I have not done I have not done.
So be it. I release my regret.
I stand with myself.
For all the gifts I have received,
known and unknown, I am grateful.
However I have suffered I accept.
I learn what I can and move on.
Whatever others have done that hurt me,
I forgive. I learn and move on.
For however I have failed or fallen short,
I forgive myself. I learn and move on.
I release my fears.
I release my self-doubt, blame and self-silencing.
My hopes and dreams I place in God’s hands,
trusting what is blessed will remain with me.
I am alive, and life is good.
I open myself to the future,
enfolded in this present.
Holy Mystery, I am yours.
I am here, now.
December 31, 2019
I hold you in my arms.
I carry you you everywhere,
or leave you behind.
I feed you the life of my flesh.
I guard you from what is harsh and hurtful,
most of it within me.
I learn to listen to your cries,
to honor your hunger,
to wonder at your wonder.
I do everything differently
with a tender infant in my arms.
I am glad to show to you strangers.
Every moment is a miracle, a revelation.
I watch you incessantly.
It is enough.
I will do anything for you.
Sometimes I forget
I hold you in my arms.
December 30, 2019
When Herod saw that he had been tricked by the magi,
he was infuriated, and he sent and killed all the children
in and around Bethlehem who were two years old or under.
Then was fulfilled what had been spoken through the prophet Jeremiah:
“A voice was heard in Ramah,
wailing and loud lamentation,
Rachel weeping for her children;
she refused to be consoled, because they are no more.”
— Matthew 2.16-18
Every year, politely aghast,
we push you aside, Rachel,
firmly usher you off stage
away from the baby
asleep in the manger,
no crying he makes,
so you don’t wake him
with your wailing.
Again this year you aren’t invited
to our pageant.
Let us come and kneel instead
at your cradle—empty—
your wanting lap,
and behold your devastation:
at the prison doors,
the border walls, the tent cities.
For once let’s abandon our denial
that you are the reason he came,
not our comfort and joy,
that our violence is the manger
into which he empties himself,
your grief the abyss he willingly enters.
Your cry is his voice.
With you we shove him offstage,
and our complicity—
until we confess
we have ravaged the manger;
this is Good Friday,
and he does not bear his cross alone.
For you, Rachel,
and your children,
we still our confident carols,
and let your lamentation
be the song of our angels.
December 27, 2019
Take my breast. I give it to you with tender joy.
As I seep into you you seep deeper into my heart.
The Word made flesh in the milk of my love.
This is my body, given for you.
Drink of me, and I will be in you.
My flesh becomes yours.
Let my love become you.
December 26, 2019
Sit in the lap of my heart
and never leave.
Be born in my breath,
my heartbeat, my thoughts.
Child of God,
flesh of love,
take my hand
and lead me.
December 25, 2019
Holiness is near.
The stars say,
Open your eyes in wonder.
We who are poor are not afraid.
The sheep say,
Your struggles are blessed.
The child says,
Your flesh is my flesh.
I am here.
December 24, 2019
May the coming of Christ
deepen your wonder
and widen your gratitude.
May the helpless child
bring forth your tenderness
and strengthen your love.
May the gentle mother
give you courage to embrace the holy
and find the divine in yourself.
May the child who shares our death
bring light into your darkness,
and hope to your weariness.
May the holy family in the stable
open your heart to the poor,
the homeless, the refugee.
May the child sought by soldiers
embolden you to cry out
and empower you to resist injustice.
May the angels who sing above you
awaken your heart
and surround you with beauty.
May the One Who Comes
remind you of your belovedness
and fill you with kindness and mercy,
and give you joy.
December 23, 2019
In our northern woods we hunger for the sun.
Our neighbors in Australia suffer intense heat.
This is the solstice: what is winter for me
is summer for you; that both are joined.
God pulls the mighty down from their thrones
and raises and empowers the lowly.
This is justice: that we are in this together,
that life is never mine alone.
In all our differences this we have in common,
that we are given to each other; and
that we are hungry, incomplete, that we are waiting,
that who we are has not yet been revealed.
In the fullness of time, the dance of both night and day,
the holy One comes to us, extreme of us and God,
solstice of both human and divine, and blesses us
with each other, completes us with each other.
with mixed banality and wonder,
as a warm mass of heaven meets solid earth
and human and divine occur simultaneously.
Expect periods of bright darkness
and revelation that remains mystery.
December 20, 2019
We sang Christmas carols in the gym at the prison.
The visitors sang out on all the goldies—
all those old British tunes and their smooth rhymes,
all the gloooo—ho-ho-ho-ho-horias.
The inmates mumbled along.
Everybody sang to the backs of the chairs in front of them.
Then we got to Feliz Navidad.We didn’t know that one so well—
but the guys belted it out with gusto.
They sang it to each other.
This was their song.
Shepherds on the hillside,
suddenly given good news
in their own language.
This is the mystery of Christmas:
God has come to sing our song,
in our language,
not the refined arias of angelic choruses
but the gritty, plain language of life lived,
failed, loved anyway—and saved. Feliz Navidad.
December 19, 2019
Joseph, son of David,
do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife,
for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.
The question is not whether you love her.
The question is whether you will marry her.
You have been given only glorious ambiguity,
darkness marbled with starlight,
possibility breathed in silence.
You seek assurance; none is given.
Your life will not be as you wish it.
Those you love will let you down.
This world is full of flaws and disappointment.
It is also full of the Mysterious One.
Give yourself without knowing.
Betrothed, beloved, to uncertainty,
pledge your loyalty to this one you cannot know.
Do not pray to understand:
pray to be present, to be faithful, to be loving
when you cannot know what will come of it.
Do not be afraid to take this life
and marry it.
December 18, 2019