advent journal: return visit


After a long day, I have been staring at the screen and writing down dead end streets to the point that I have circled back to an old poem of mine that showed up in a memory today. I need to sleep, so I am going to lean into to your grace and offer words I said a few years back on this same night–updated where they needed to be.

far afield

I wonder what the shepherds did
the year after the angels came,
or how the Magi went about their
business when they got back home.

Do you think the innkeeper woke
in the night sometimes and opened
the door, hoping for strangers, or
sat out in the barn for no reason?

How did they keep the story fresh?
Or did they go back hoping for a
return engagement of wonder—
gloria in excelcis ditto

Did they hang that one special night
like an ornament in their hearts,
but lost its shine over the years?
Could they still hear the melody?

Steps away from my sixty-fifth
Christmas, and the field of my heart
feels far away from the manger.
though I’m out hoping to hear angels . . .

but tonight I have found these words:
Love will not wait till I’m ready;
grace comes, but does not evict grief;
hope runs like a hound for my heart;

peace disquiets as it comforts.
So I gather my sorrows like sheep,
stack these words like wood for a fire,
and strike the match of all that matters . . .

only to find I am not alone.
Can you hear the angels singing?
Do you know the way from here?
If not, we will follow the stars.



  1. Fabulous words. Thank you. I am so moved. I am sixty-seven and was raised in Durham NC. Janice and I (Gary) live in Celebration FL. I have a brother who is into music as much as you. So much of what you write resonates deeply inside mel. This is wonderful and inspiring for this Christmas at the end of a difficult year. .

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