Christmas Eve! Five hundred poets waited, pen poised above paper, for the poem to arrive, bells ringing. It was because the chimney was too small, because they had ceased to believe, the poem passed them by on its way out into oblivion, leaving the doorstep bare of all but the sky-rhyming child to whom later on they would teach prose.
Great Expectations! So many awaiting the inspiration for the poem, so many bells ringing – for so little. The narrow way did not work – the expectations were wrong. The echo of Jesus’ words in Matthew 18:3 is clear:
It is to the foolish and the children that the word comes first. Why? Because they are not over-thinking it. They do not have their pens prepared, they do not have a narrow chimny down which everything must fit; they are open to the Word. The wise, at least wise in their own estimate, can be so pre-occupied with minutiae and detail that they miss the forest because the shape and nature of the leaf occupy the forefront of their minds. They have forgotten the importance of belief. I believe because I can do no other.
Only the “sky-rhyming child”, a phrase I love, catches the real “poem”, but, sadness awaits, as that girl will have the poetry schooled out of her. Christ’s birthing changes everything. God’s love means everything. Such vastness fails, and always will fail, to fit any tidy patterns we try to set. It saddens me when I hear people say that only x or y will be saved, and that z is doomed to hell. God alone knows these things, and as I am not God, I don’t; the people doing the condemning are not God either. As humans we are beloved by God. Not beloved because we are perfect – Jesus came for the lost sheep and for the sinner. What the five hundred poet misses, the small child finds. Mthr. Carys wisely asks:
Have we reduced the poem to prose? Are we tempted to name and pin down the incarnate one so that we can grasp and understand rather than allow Christ the child to live and breathe within us. Is our temptation to shape the newborn to fit our lives, our world, rather than allow the infant to shape us. Are we able to learn the poetry rather than teach prose?p. 117
There’s the challenge. Are we able to accept the message that God is love? It is the simplest – and hardest – of messages. How, we say, looking inward, can I be loved by God? But the sculptor sees deeper within the marble than the marble can. He came in humility to save us. Have we the humility to be saved?
There is an #adventbookclub using “Frequencies of God” by Carys Walsh and you can support the publisher by buying it here: https://canterburypress.hymnsam.co.uk/books/9781786220882/frequencies-of-god. We’ll be running this club on Twitter and Facebook, and you are welcome to join in with thoughts and comments. Other folk doing this are https://grahart.wordpress.com/ and https://becausegodislove.wordpress.com/ so please pop over and read their thoughts too!