I come from, and circulate in, a decidedly Protestant culture. As such, the statement above has garnered me some strange looks recently.
A few years ago, I began injecting some of the liturgical calendar into the rhythm of my journey. Mostly Lent & Advent. But even then, they were partial & not very intentional.
The period leading up to Christmas was rather dark for me this year. I didn’t participate in Advent at all, because I wasn’t looking forward to Christmas.
Then, this little song showed up on my Christmas Pandora station. It helped center me again on the true reason for Christmas. Once Christmas arrived, I was much better able to participate in the gift that is Christmas. I have enjoyed savoring the lengthened liturgical Christmas. During a normal year, Christmas is the highlight of my winter. But once the day itself is over, I find myself looking forward to the months of grey drizzle with dread. *
This year however, I feel like I’ve already come through the darkest part of the night, and, even though it’s still going to be months of grey, it’s lighter than it has been. I know, as the Bloggess so eloquently stated that the fight continues, I have more hope than I have had for some time.
And so, on this day of Epiphany, I pray that you would be encouraged and blessed by these poems & readings that have touched me this Christmas.
The Epiphany reading from Isaiah:
Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you. For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the LORD will arise upon you, and his glory will be seen upon you. And nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising. Lift up your eyes all around, and see; they all gather together, they come to you; your sons shall come from afar, and your daughters shall be carried on the hip. Then you shall see and be radiant; your heart shall thrill and exult, because the abundance of the sea shall be turned to you, the wealth of the nations shall come to you. A multitude of camels shall cover you, the young camels of Midian and Ephah; all those from Sheba shall come. They shall bring gold and frankincense, and shall bring good news, the praises of the LORD.
Isaiah 60:1-6 ESV
From Jan over at The Painted Prayer Book:
A Blessing for Those Who Have Far to Travel
If you could see
the journey whole
you might never
might never dare
the first step
that propels you
from the place
you have known
toward the place
you know not.
Read the rest over at The Painted Prayer Book
And a poem that was sent to my by a dear friend who has been dealing with grief as well this Christmas:
Christmas is for Healing
Weep over your city for Christmas (Luke 19:41-42)
and see if your tears will heal it!
Loving you, of course
I am not at all interested in how much money
you are spending on Christmas gifts this year
but rather, in how much blood, sweat, and tears
you are shedding
to make Christ a vital part of your life
for you and I will never be able to erase the
fact that He came;
to touch lives – to break bread
to heal hurt – to forgive sins
to wash feet – to calm seas
to walk on water – to give us His spirit
and to care immensely
Yes, to care enough
to be born in our Bethlehem
to live in our land, and weep over our cities,
and die and rise again.
So now it’s Christmas
and I am not sure what part of you is crippled
or just where you need to feel His saving power
but with everything in me
I believe that CHRISTMAS IS FOR HEALING
and He came to heal.
So if you can trust Him enough to
walk out on the waters of getting involved
of washing feet and anointing people,
of breaking bread and working miracles,
I am almost sure His saving presence
will touch those blind and crippled parts of your life
and Christmas will come to you.
More than anything else
I want to give you Christmas this year
But it is always an offer you know
You can’t take it if you like
But I can’t really give it like a wrapped up package
It is deeper than that,
holier than that, better, stronger
and more personal.
Christmas is more challenging
Than a wrapped up package.
It is an offer
It is a mystery
It is a birth
It is Christmas and
God can never be born enough…
~Taken from Seasons of Your Heart by Macrina Widerkehr, OSB
May the light of the Spirit shine upon you this Epiphany day. When darkness covers the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; may the LORD arise upon you, and his glory be seen upon you.
(*) Affiliate links to Amazon used for the Relient K song download.