advent journal: incarnativity


I was inspired by Sarah Bessey’s wonderful post on how we tell the Nativity story and this is where her words took me.


when I turn in my dictionary
to define what pageant means
there’s nothing revolutionary:
a loosely connected set of scenes

our pageant is the Christmas Story
an acted-out Nativity
performed by all the little children–
incarnate creativity

the stage is filled with bathrobe shepherds
angels graced with cardboard wings
Mary, Joseph, and the baby
ensconced in a menagerie

the pageant scene is loud and crowded
a bit confused and filled with joy
a heavenly–well, we’ll just say a host
of hopeful hearts gathered ‘round the boy

we often have a different picture
of the couple traveling far
as though they walked along our highways
and underneath our sky and stars

we describe the sheep and cattle
crammed into a chilly barn
Jesus’ birth in bleak midwinter
woven into our cultural yarn

of a baby born in hardship
left to wander all alone
Horatio Alger as a Hebrew
who rose to make it on his own

our little children tell it better
that happy holy little herd
a crowd of people were with Jesus
with being the operative word

Christ was not born in a stable
but in a room a family shared
because the room for guests was taken
so they gave up what was theirs

so the child would not be born in
isolation, neither Mary all alone
others would have gathered ‘round them
to help them know that they belonged

from the start this was the message
name the boy Emmanuel
that very word means God With Us
now there’s a story we can tell

in our pageant of existence
our loosely connected set of scenes
our hopes and fears of all the years,
our weary roads and shattered dreams

gather shepherds, sheep, and angels,
bring your broken hearts and wings
we are all in this together
that is what Emmanuel means

On the eve of the impeachment vote, and thinking today of so many I know who are hurting and struggling, God with us and us with God is as good a word as I can think to say.


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