Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Christmas +1, Yr A)

THE SHADOW FALLS PAST CHRISTMAS
Matthew 2: 13-23

Hear the broken-hearted weeping
in the blooded streets, see
the frightened family fleeing
the night so gouged and torn
with loss. We cannot forget
the shadow that falls past Christmas.

Sometimes the tree falls down and the lights
are crushed. The car goes off the road
driving home from the party. Storm
sets in, shutting down festive celebration.

Shadow falls past Christmas:
the Herod dark of hatred, shattered
lives and homes, cruelty
and the killing power of greed;
dreams of joy chased down by fear and grief.

Infants dying of neglect and malnutrition,
oppression claiming victims every day,
and so frequently corruption unabated:
the songs of hope that came like dreams
seem easily defeated.

But see the infant Christ
not among the murdered.
Untrapped by hatred’s reach, by
greed’s cold grasp, by the power
of death so constantly pursuing,
infant Love lives on, the hope
and will for justice and peace
persisting.

Shadow falls past Christmas. But
see the light still shining;
faith and hope still singing; the contest
for the human heart goes on.

May we, as Joseph did, keep
listening to the words of dreams.
Keep moving the feet
toward morning’s hope,
free as a gift of love,
however distant the dawn.

And may the darkness fail to chase us down.

Copyright © by Andrew King
Reprinted from First Sunday After Christmas, 2013

A Poem For Christmas Eve/Day

THE FLIGHT OF THE HEAVENLY HOST
(Luke 2: 1-14)

They flew over cities of a thousand old sorrows,
they flew over hills of a hundred hard griefs,
they flew over fields of love fallen in ruins,
and over dim hovels long haunted with yearning,
and over bright palaces of the powerful feasting,

and in their old graves the prophets
looked up to see them,
and the brown grasses bent to the rush of their passing,
and the wild seas lifted their waves in adulation,
and the pilgrim wind wept with the joy of their singing,

and the angels flew on to the pivot of history,
they flew upon wings made of messages of light,
and the prayers of the ages rose up to enwrap them,
and they stopped over stones of moss-covered memory
where hope’s moldered bones had lain down to die,

and the night held its breath and the dark knelt to listen,
and the trees brought the stars close with trembling hands
as a baby’s first cries cut the air in a stable
and shivering stunned shepherds
heard praises fill the Bethlehem sky.

Copyright ©2016 by Andrew King

Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Christmas 2, Yr C)

TO CREATE A NEW YEAR
(Ephesians 1: 3-14; John 1: 1-18)

It’s the first Sunday of the starting year.
Once more we hear the usual news on
the radio: the deaths by gun and bomb,
the lives awash in pain, the anxious fears

of many an “expert” for tomorrow.
Hatreds rear their ugly heads, raging roars
in the mouths of the powerful, the doors
to chaos swing on oiled hinges. Sorrow

abounds. Where now, we ask, is the newness
of the turned page? Where the fresh beginning?
How may we know that goodness is winning
and that sunrise is rolling back darkness?

We may know by listening well: a song
from long ago is still being sung, ringing
like a bell in the shadows and bringing
hope, both old and fresh as dawn, to the long

patient march of the years toward God’s planned
healing of the human world and hurt earth.
That song is the Word made flesh, given birth
into time and into us; and in our hands

is placed Christ’s grace – grace upon grace – the light
that darkness has not overcome. Despair
may tempt still. But in us, through us, God’s care
for the world flows, song of God’s own delight,

and with the strength of that care always near
in our hearts, faith points our eyes toward joy:
seeing the turned page indeed as new day
for service that will create a new year.

Copyright © 2016 by Andrew King

Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Christmas 1, Yr C)

IF WE MISS YOU
(Luke 2: 41-52)

If we miss you leaving the festival
leaving the celebrations and memories
leaving the feasting and traditions
leaving the prayers and the songs;

if we miss you leaving the festival
returning to the stresses and pressures
returning to demands and deadlines
returning to the everyday routines –

we can find you in places of peacefulness
we can find you where wisdom is spoken
we can find you where holiness is nurtured
we can find you where God’s love is shared

and we will find you back with us in our travels
we will find you still with us at home
we will find you growing stronger within us
your grace embracing us, our hearts your own.

Christmas Eve (Yr C)

A PRAYER FOR CHRISTMAS EVE
(Luke 2: 1-20)

Here is the emptiness of my night
     may it be filled with your glory
Here are the silences of my heart
     may they be filled with your songs

Here is the watchfulness of my eyes
     may they be opened to wonder
Here is the listening of my soul
     may it hear the joy of your love

Here is the hopefulness of my journey
     may it lead me swift to your side
Here is the searching of my anxious mind
     may it find rest in your peace

Here is the wood and straw of my days
     may they be a bed for your presence
And here is the humble cave of my life
     may it be your home, gentle Saviour.

A Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (First Sunday After Christmas)

THE SHADOW FALLS PAST CHRISTMAS
Matthew 2: 13-23

Hear the broken-hearted weeping
in the blooded streets, see
the frightened family fleeing
the night so gouged and torn
with loss. We cannot forget
the shadow that falls past Christmas.

Sometimes the tree falls down and the lights
are crushed. The car goes off the road
driving home from the party. Storm
sets in, shutting down festive celebration.

Shadow falls past Christmas:
the Herod dark of hatred, shattered
lives and homes, cruelty
and the killing power of greed;
dreams of joy chased down by fear and grief.

Infants dying of neglect and malnutrition,
oppression claiming victims every day,
and so frequently corruption unabated:
the songs of hope that came like dreams
seem easily defeated.

But see the infant Christ
not among the murdered.
Untrapped by hatred’s reach, by
greed’s cold grasp, by the power
of death so constantly pursuing,
infant Love lives on, the hope
and will for justice and peace
persisting.

Shadow falls past Christmas. But
see the light still shining;
faith and hope still singing; the contest
for the human heart goes on.

May we, as Joseph did, keep
listening to the words of dreams.
Keep moving the feet
toward morning’s hope,
free as a gift of love,
however distant the dawn.

And may the darkness fail to chase us down.

Copyright © 2013 by Andrew King