Midnight on New Year’s

Would that I could escape this second, stretch out from the bubble that is this hour, and touch the hem of your robe there where you wade on the horizon, there where you watch the world go by out-of-sequence, there where you midwife death into birth and mourning into dancing, there where the soft shadows of yesterday’s dawn dance across your holy face with the blazing lights of tomorrow’s sunset. Would that I could be with you beyond time, without panic that joy is something to be lost, without fear that love is only a flower that fades, without despair that healing is beyond the reach of these days. Would that I could — but o! most Eternal God — if I cannot, then hide me in the hem of your robe until I see clearly the limits of the clock and the frailty of my faith.

on Ecclesiastes 3:11b

Coventry

Lully, lullay, thou little tiny child
bye bye we say this day.
Lully, lullay, thou little tiny child
bye bye along your way.

O brothers, all, see how death falls;
let anger be displayed,
and to this child wrapped in a shawl
sing you lully lullay.

Dear sisters, too, might we undo
the violence and dismay
for peace and love to yet break through?
Bye bye lully lullay.

Herod in rage across the age
steals life as though from prey;
his love of pow’r becomes a plague
and God he thus betrays.

Woe to the child and woe to we;
raise our lament today.
May Christ preserve our spirits free,
bye bye lully lullay.

Based on the Coventry Carol and Matthew 2:16. The Coventry Carol came from a series of medieval plays that brought bible stories to life — in this case, the story of the Slaughter of the Innocents. In the play, mothers of the children murdered at Herod’s command sang a last lullaby to their children.

Christmas Creed

And now what has been
is forever again;
And now these days we have watched
are as a dream fading at dawn;
And now the best of our longings are idle fantasies
as the Desire of all creation takes its throne;
And now we catch our breath and bend our knee at This:
the holy Triumph that has come and will not end.

on Hebrews 1:10-12

Christmas Blessing

And so goodness and loving kindness
have appeared among us — not
by our work or righteousness
— but by holy mercy,
and indeed,
how else would
goodness and loving kindness
be manifest among us if not by miracle?
But because they have appeared in abundance,
go: find an infant and beg his blessing,
find a child and ask her wisdom,
seek out the eternal light
lingering in an
elder’s eyes. And pray:
that a cynical teenager will teach you
curiosity, that a stranger
will show you
joy,
that an
estranged
family member
will point you toward grace.
And in all good things
— in all strenuous
and miserable
things too —
on this
most holy day,
let the miraculous news
of God’s faithfulness and hospitality
encourage your heart and embolden your living.

on Titus 3:4-5a