Saturday, December 16, 2017

Tired of Waiting: A Poem for Christmas

Tired of Waiting
A Poem for Christmas

To a world tried of waiting
came light from a
distant star

Unnoticed at first for
the darkness was so
vast and deep

Prophet’s cries were muted
until a surprise
voice was heard in a wilderness

Laws and covenants seemed
but burdens to bear-
dry rules to observe

The waiting had created
hopelessness that
nothing would come

But God was also tired
of waiting though
the star’s light took time

So one night the waiting
was over and stargazers
took a chance

Shepherds who understood
waiting thought they
heard stars singing

A young girl’s waiting
ended next to
a waiting manger

Now God wonders if
you will wait
or become busy again

The star-child raises
his eyes and arms
to you to see
if you are waiting

Grow not tired of waiting-
It is there the
Word comes

Emmanuel- God with
us in
the waiting

Jody Seymour
Christmas 2017

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

A Christmas Poem: Jospeh Make Me a Cradle

Joseph Make Me a Cradle

Joseph make me a cradle-
one of wood and
the other of your
Our child will need holding
but so will I
The angel’s voice seems
distant now
faded by the hushed
words of neighbors
who judge me with
their eyes

But you whisper to me that
there is no time
for your craft
but that we must go
Your smile promises me
that your rough
hands will hold me
through the night

His words seem so barren
telling us of “no room”
for he knows not
who he turns
The cradle you could not
fashion you now
make with what is-
a manger

So cradle me Joseph with
the daring love that
listens to dreams
and obeys
The manger will hold
our child and
you can hold
and him
in arms that this
night seem
like God’s

Jody Seymour
Advent 2017

Monday, December 11, 2017

Meditation for the Third Sunday of Advent

Meditation for the Third Sunday in Advent
So it seems that the scriptures for this Sunday are about hope.  It was Augustine who changed the order of things in that famous passage from I Corinthians about “faith, hope, and love.”  The original states that these three virtues are most needed “but the greatest of these is love.” 
Augustine states that the “greatest of these is hope.”  Faith, according to Augustine is the assertion that God “is.”  Love, lifts up that God is good.  But it is hope that boldly believes that God’s will will be ultimately done.
The people of Isaiah’s day need a resurrection of hope.  So the prophet speaks of being anointed to bring good news not to those who already possess it but to the oppressed, the poor, and the brokenhearted.  The people who first hear these words are being told that they are finally being released from the penalty box.  To them “God’s will” in days past has been in the form of punishment for not listening. 
So when they hear words about the good news of “release for captives,” they for sure are listening again.  God yearns to give them an early Christmas present in the midst of some dark times.  When it seemed to them that God was absent they now hear that God has counted their tears and now wants those “who have sown with tears to go out with shouts of joy.”
Christmas comes at the darkest time of the year, according to the calendar, and for many according to the calendar of the heart.  One of the dearest times for me when I was a working pastor was to participate in a service called, “A Service of Hope and Healing.”
With some meditative music resonating in the chapel, words of hope were read to those gathered in the darkness of a Sunday night in December.  Most of the people there were present because someone dear to them was now gone.  Others were dealing with the threat of illness or the deep disappointment of the death of a relationship.
My task was not to take away the pain with some magic glowing words but to simply tell them that God was present and did count their tears.  God now wanted some healing for their parched souls. As each struggling soul came forward to kneel I would anoint them with oil and say their name as I offered the words, “May God’s healing grace be upon your life.”  Emmanuel means, “God with us,” in the midst of our tears.  In the midst of defeat God’s will that seemed to be hidden behind forms of failure was and is there.
The very big God becomes small when we feel small.  So it is a slight of build young teenager who offers words of hope because she is chosen to be the God-bearer.  A “lowly” servant girl who will have to survive the many rumors about “who the father of the child really is,” is going to end up being the “queen of heaven.”  God comes down to the lowly of state to offer hope in the midst of all the questions.
God stands with God’s people in the midst of the many defeats that come in the living of ordinary lives, but God will not be defeated ultimately.  God’s will surfaces to offer hope in the midst of despair. 
So the child who will one day use Isaiah’s words to announce that he too has come to offer good news to the oppressed and the lowly will be born not in a palace but in a stable.  His first audience will be shepherds who were not even allowed into the town because of their poor reputation.  His first journey will be to escape the terror of a king who has no place for some upstart who lays claim to “rule the world.”
So for you today, hear the good news in the midst of the bad news.  The darkness is real and deep but God comes into the darkness to give us hope.  “Those who go out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy.”
The greatest of these is hope; God’s will is for those who are hurting to know that God is coming to us again as Emmanuel; God with us in the midst of the tears. 
Thank you Mary for saying, “Yes.”  Thank you shepherds for listening to the song of the stars.  Thank you Joseph for paying attention to dreams instead of reality. 
And for you who read this, may the hope of Christmas be yours.

Jody Seymour
Advent 2017


Saturday, December 9, 2017

Fear Not: A Poem for Christmas

Fear Not

Voices that seemed to
come from the stars
told them to
“fear not”
But the darkness
of the night
seemed so real

Herod did not listen
for he was afraid
of losing the
fleeting power
he held

An innkeeper feared the
overcrowded conditions
and the unsettled
feeling of putting
strangers in
a stable

Mary was afraid for on
 this night there was
no angel voice to
still her beating heart
with words of comfort

Joseph feared that he would
not measure up
to being the kind
of father
 the child would need

But still the voices spoke
 the truth into
a fear filled world
that needed
a savior

So now for you and your fears
 hear again
that announcement from
long ago
for he is here
in the midst of
all the fear

“Fear not”….even though

Unto us is born
a savior

Jody Seymour
Advent 2017