Please Read Luke 1: 46b – 55
In a sense, because of the cycle of the Julian calendar, the opening two lines of Wendell Berry’s 6th poem in the 1987 Sabbath poems collection, “Remembering that it happened once, we cannot turn away the thought…” were fulfilled this year.
Yesterday, my day began and ended in worship, remembering that God came into this world in the form of a baby, named Jesus by his mother.
Berry describes the birth with these words, “…the Child bedded in straw, the mother kneeling over Him, the husband standing in belief he scarcely can believe, in light that lights them from no source we see….”
Like those earliest visitors to the stall where Mary gave birth, I could not turn away.
The mother of Jesus, upon learning she would give birth to God’s son, responds with incredibly beautiful words, what the Church has named, “Mary’s Song.” In her song, Mary describes what Jesus’ birth will mean: through his strength, he scatters the proud in the thoughts of their hearts; he has brought down the powerful from their seats of power, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry, and sent the rich away empty; and he has helped his people remember his mercy.
Mary’s Song describes her understanding of what Jesus’ birth means to the world. Berry uses these words to describe the moment of Jesus’ birth, as one might have experienced it, standing at the open stall door, “…We stand with one hand on the door, looking into another world, that is our world, the pale daylight coming just as before…our white frozen breath hanging in front of us; and we are here as we have never been before, sighted as not before, our place Holy, although we knew it not.”
“Remembering that it happened once, we cannot turn away the thought….”
May your remembering this Christmas Day enable you to experience more hope than despair; more peace than fear; more joy than sorrow; more love than hate; more light than darkness.
Blessings to all this Christmas Day.
Rev. John M. Richardson
Retired Interim Regional Minister