How to give Christmas presents

“When we give each other our Christmas presents in his name, let us remember that he has given us the sun and the moon and the stars, the earth with its forests and mountains and oceans and all that lives and moves upon them.  He has given us all green things and everything that blossoms and bears fruit and all that we have misused–and to save us from our own foolishness and from all our sins, he came down to earth and gave us Himself.  Venite adoremus Dominum.”  (Sigrid Undset)

Blessing the Door

Stumbled upon this beautiful Advent poem:

Blessing the Door

First let us say

“Crossing the Threshold” Copyright Jan Richardson
“Crossing the Threshold”
Copyright Jan Richardson

a blessing
upon all who have
entered here before
us.

You can see the sign
of their passage
by the worn place
on the doorframe
as they walked through,
the smooth sill
of the threshold
where they crossed.

Press your ear
to the door
for a moment before
you enter

and you will hear
their voices murmuring
words you cannot
quite make out
but know
are full of welcome.

On the other side
these ones who wait –
for you,
if you do not
know by now –
understand what
a blessing can do

how it appears like
nothing you expected

how it arrives as
visitor,
outrageous invitation,
child;

how it takes the form
of angel
or dream;

how it comes
in words like
How can this be?
and
lifted up the lowly:

how it sounds like
in the wilderness
prepare the way.

Those who wait
for you know
how the mark of
a true blessing
is that it will take you
where you did not
think to go.

Once through this door
there will be more:
more doors
more blessings
more who watch and
wait for you

but here
at this door of
beginning
the blessings cannot
be said without you

So lay your palm
against the frame
that those before you
touched

place your feet
where others paused in this entryway.

Say the thing that
you most need
and the door will
open wide.

And by this word
the door is blessed
and by this word
the blessing is begun
from which
door by door
all the rest
will come.

– Jan Richardson, from  Through the Advent Door: Entering a Contemplative Christmas.

Advent Sunday

A blessed Advent 2020 to all of you.

Witnesses to Hope

A Sunday-poem by Christina Rossetti:

Advent Sunday

Upload time: Apr 21, 2009 by Matt12345Add info Report inaccuracy Add tag FavouriteMore Sharing ServicesShare Share on facebook Share on myspace Share on google Share on twitterComments Be the first to post a comment! To write a comment please log in or register. Schadow, Wilhelm von (1788 - 1862)Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins (detail) Schadow, Wilhelm von (1788 – 1862)
Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins (detail)

Behold, the Bridegroom cometh: go ye out
With lighted lamps and garlands round about
To meet Him in a rapture with a shout.

It may be at the midnight, black as pitch,
Earth shall cast up her poor, cast up her rich.

It may be at the crowing of the cock
Earth shall upheave her depth, uproot her rock.

For, lo, the Bridegroom fetcheth home the Bride:
His Hands are Hands she knows, she knows His Side.

Like pure Rebekah at the appointed place,
Veiled, she unveils her face to meet His Face.

Like great Queen Esther in her triumphing,
She triumphs in the Presence of her King.

His Eyes are as a Dove’s, and she’s Dove-eyed;
He knows His lovely  mirror, sister, Bride.

He speaks with Dove-voice of exceeding love,
And she with…

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O soul who reads these lines

“Faith teaches that God loves us and that he loves us not as a group, but personally, individually: He loved me! Each of us can make these words of the Apostle Paul his own without fear of error. He knows my name; he has engraved my image in his heart. Still more, I can be assured that his heart is all mine, because our Lord cannot love as we do, by halves; when he loves, he loves with his whole heart, infinitely.

“Souls sometimes say, with a mixture of love and ignorance, ‘I wish our Lord would love me more.’ But is that possible? Can he who loves infinitely love any more? If nothing else existed in the world except God and you, O soul who reads these lines, he would not love you any more than he does right now. If you were the only object of his love, he would love you just as he loves you now.” (Luis Maria Martinez)

Have you trials?

Sorry to say I have been neglecting this blog for way too long.  Especially during these times we have need of witnesses to hope.  Here’s a pertinent quote from my old friend, Amy Carmichael.  May you find encouragement in her words. 

1 Thess 3.3. (Weymouth): That none of you might be unnerved by your present trials: for you yourselves know that they are our appointed lot.

Have you difficulties?  They are our appointed lot.  Have you trials?  They are our appointed lot. 

Those five words were written to people who might any day find themselves in prison, tortured, lonely, oppressed.  Her if we have to have a tooth out, we have an injection.  There was no injection for the Christians of Thessalonica.  Let us not forget that when we are tempted to fuss over trifles, and call things trials which are mere nothings.

Still, there are trials sometimes, and they may look very big.  But they are our appointed lot–we were never promised ease.  The early Christians were not taught to expect it.  Don’t let us slip into the expectation of the easy.  It isn’t our appointed lot.

But for us there is always another word (2 Cor 12.9): My grace is sufficient for you.