Walking through cemeteries, I have learned over the years, is a lesson in awareness. We are reminded, of course, that we are dust and to dust we shall return. But we also learn the power of quiet, of stillness, of non-busyness. It’s hard to hurry through a graveyard, and why would we want to?
Cross-stitched we are, indeed. We are sewn and bound together in faith by these two images, one of the Baby Jesus lying in the manger and the other of a full-grown 30-something man hanging on a cross. In both he is held by the things of earth, by the texture and smell of wood and soil and iron.
Are there those not afraid to live by their faith? Are there gifts as simple as love?
Everybody knows that Advent is a time when we wait and prepare for the coming of Jesus at Christmas. That’s what we’ve been taught since childhood. But what does it really mean to us today if, in fact, we believe that Jesus is already here, moving and working among us? Just what are we waiting and preparing for?
So if we ever want December to become more than gift-giving season for us and our children, we need to wake up. We need to greet the season with bright eyes that remind us–and tell our children–that there’s more to it than meets the eye in the department store window.
Here’s a villanelle I wrote a few years ago to celebrate the joy and the promise of Christmas. It appears as a spoken-word poem with original music by Phil Cooper on Nathanael’s Creed’s new Christmas CD, “Home Again with You.”