The child of Bethlehem, the man on the Cross, Jesus – he embraces the whole of our human experiences – God with us, not just for good times, but for all times. This is the message of the angels – God with us, in times of darkness and cold, sorrow and uncertainty; God with us in the sunshine of contentment and satisfaction. The good news is God is with us, God with us to strengthen, uphold, and renew.

 These truths are best expressed for me in the poetry of hope, and longing and I share these two pieces with you.

 First from Three Poems of Incarnation – Kathleen Raine

Who stands at my door in the storm and rain
On the threshold of being?
One who waits till you call him in
From the empty night

Are you a stranger, out in the storm,
Or has my enemy found me out
On the edge of being?

I am no stranger who stands at the door
Nor enemy come in the secret night,
I am your child, in darkness and fear
On the verge of being.

Go back, my child, to the rain and storm,
For in this house there is sorrow and pain
In the lonely night.

I will not go back for sorrow or pain,
For my true love weeps within
And waits for my coming.

Go back, my babe, to the vacant night
For in this house dwell sin and hate
On the verge of being.

I will not go back for hate or sin,
I will not go back for sorrow or pain,
For my true love mourns within
On the threshold of night.

 

 And finally from WH Audens Chrismas Oratorio

Because of His visitation, we may no longer desire God as if He were lacking: our redemption is no longer a question of pursuit – but a surrender to Him who is always and everywhere present. Therefore at every moment we pray that, following Him we may depart from our anxiety into His peace.

 

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