My local churches delivered a Christmas card. It was the usual advert for services, with a choice of 8 different kinds of church. But, on the back, was "Advent Calendar," a poem by Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury. As a friend of mine said, it's good to have an Archbishop who can write poetry, especially good poetry. He was making connections between the coming of Christ and the world of nature.
As often happens to me, it started me thinking, and I put down a few psalm-like phrases. This is not as good as his poem, of course, and it's written in January, the time of the Sales. But it's also the season of Epiphany, the time of gifts - a pity we don't all keep January 6th as a day for giving Christmas presents.
- God will come unseen, like autumn leaves
he has come already and we noticed nothing!
- The leaves that fall at random, feeding the earth
warming the slippery ground, leaving us a mess.
- God will come unheard, like the frost
already he has been here, biting and sharp;
- yet snow brings beauty, too, patterned and clear
pointing up the shape of branches we hadn't seen before.
- God will come unwanted, like the dark
already he has lived and died among us.
- The darkness may bring sadness, in a dreary winter
why is it so hard to accept a dying at Christmas?
- God will bring gifts unbidden, like the day
he brightens up our future, as a child.
- All that we have is given, a gift unearned
his birth and death today make mine a bargain.