Thursday, December 21, 2017

A Distant Knock: Ann Inkeeper Remembers

A Distant Knock
(An Innkeeper Remembers)

Sleep was a friend that
night so full
Tired of disappointment
I no longer responded
to knocks
at my door

No fault of mine was
the forced assembly
My trade was to house
people not excuses
so my words
were clear-
“No room”

My retreat was the night
so in a dream I
heard a distant knock
Wanting not to awake
but I did
to find them

“With Child”…his words
 waking my slumbering soul
What kind of man would
take this risky journey
into the unknown?

Wishing I had stayed dreaming
I led them to my stable
saying not what
was in my heart and mind-
“What kind of world
this must be”

Then in her pain she put
her hand upon my face
and whispered haunting words-
“Bless you dear one-
You make space for
God’s child
this night”

Her kindness contained no judgment
and her words wrapped
me like some blanket
Not ever have I felt
such an accepting

I walked back to my
place of dreaming
wondering about that
distant knock
and what kind
of God
would do this

Jody Seymour –Christmas 2017

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Wanting a White Christmas? a poem for Christmas

Wanting a White Christmas?

Again this year that old
sweet voice will echo
through our journey
toward hope

He sings of dreaming
in the midst of
of his warmth of a
day filled
with snow

So it is with us as
we hear the melody
for we yearn to
know and believe that
the desert will bloom

So far away are those
stars where dreams
are often lifted
…so we wonder if
dreams will come true

But listen children of
all ages
A special dream was birthed
long ago though
there was no snow

God’s “white Christmas” came
surrounded by sleepy
animals who wondered
about the strange
visitors who
arrived late

So when next you hear the
song, smile and
know that God’s
dream is real
for you
and this world.
Jody Seymour-Christmas 2017

Monday, December 18, 2017

Meditation for the Fourth Sunday in Advent plus a former Christmas poem

Meditation for the Fourth Sunday of Advent 2017
            First reading
    • Isaiah 9:2-7
  • Psalm
    • Psalm 96
  • Second reading
    • Titus 2:11-14
  • Gospel
    • Luke 2:1-14, (15-20)
The readings this week all point to “the child.”  So below I share with you something I wrote recently for a local news feed; “A Little Child Shall Lead Them.”  The article contains my two favorite, personal Christmas Stories.  Merry Christmas.
Also if you want a family/children centered poem for Christmas you can pull up my post from last year (2016) “Twas the Night Before Christmas:  The Real Story”
                                              And a Little Child Shall Lead Them

            Christmas contains both joy and pain.  The joy seems to always have something to do with childhood.  Everyone has a childhood and even if Christmas did not produce everything our childhood longings desired there was at least the simplicity of anticipation that something good was coming.  The pain comes from growing up and away from such childhood.  We often spend our adult years shopping for children or grandchildren, in part as an effort to get back to the joy of childhood.
            I reach back for that Christmas morning when our youngest child’s eyes caught me as I turned over in bed.  She was just tall enough to look at me at the edge of the mattress.  She was barely two and daily discovering the ability to use language.
            The Christmas Eve pageant was still looming in her mind.  She had heard her father say at the end of the bath-robbed drama that “tonight is the eve of Jesus’ birth.”  My wife and I had made sure there were cookies and milk next to the tree and a carrot for Rudolf.  Our two year old Amanda would awaken and discover only cookie crumbs and a partially eaten carrot.  Santa and company had made their visit.
            But her eyes were full of questions.  I was to discover that she had already visited the Christmas tree and she had witnessed the remains of Santa’s visit.  Then came the question, “Daddy, where is baby Jesus?”
            I am a minister.  I am supposed to be able to answer religious sounding questions.  The cookies were gone. The nibbled on carrots were evidence that Santa and Rudolf had been to the house.  What was I to say about the advertised arrival of baby Jesus?  Before I could collect my thoughts her eyes and little mouth asked another question, “He is up at the church?”
            Perhaps I spend my living and my life trying to answer Amanda’s Christmas questions.  All of those who seek to follow the child of Bethlehem are seeking to live into Amanda’s questions.
            Years later another child answered a Christmas question.  Christmas came on Sunday that year.  I was serving a large, predominantly young adult congregation.  I knew how tempting is was going to be to let Santa Claus win the battle of Christmas morning.  I bribed my people to get them to church.
            I told them we would have doughnuts and coffee. I told them to bring the kids with their pajamas on if need be.  I told them I would not “preach” but would tell a Christmas story.  I asked them to witness to their children that it was the birthday of Jesus and not just the dawn of the arrival of a jolly old elf.
            Christmas miracles happen because they came.  The church was full.  I dawned a make shift outfit and became the innkeeper in the Christmas story.  I was telling the story from his point of view.  I had already spoken of the many tales I had heard from people who were trying to get into my inn on that busy night.
            I had long since bolted my door and refused to respond to the constant knocks.  It was late.  Most of my residents were sleeping when I heard a solitary knock at the door.  For some reason I went, perhaps to let some cool air into the stuffy surroundings.  There they were, a shabby looking couple.  She was leaning over the neck of a tired looking burro.  The man holding the rein then offered the wildest story I had heard all evening,
                        “Sir, could you please let us have a room.  My wife’s about to
                                    have a baby?”
            Then I looked out at my very attentive congregation and said, “was I supposed to believe such a crazy story…”  Before I could finish my prepared line, Teddy, who was four years old and whose mother later told me had been standing on his toes at the edge of the pew with his eyes trained on the scene shouted, “yes!”
            There was silence at first.  You know that kind of silence that can only be felt by a group of people in church who do not quite know what to do.  Then there was a solitary laugh, and then the place erupted in Christmas joy.
            Teddy had stolen the show and told the story.  Today in a world of crumbling towers and threats of bioterrorism and war, there comes a shout, “Yes, believe!” 
            I am older now, but Amanda’s questions and Teddy’s answer give me hope and joy.  The story then and the story now are the same, “and a little child shall lead them.”
                                    Jody Seymour

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