Saturday, December 25, 2010

Come and See!

That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep.

Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them,
and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them.

They were terrified,

but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!”
he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people.
The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!
And you will recognize him by this sign:
You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”

Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in highest heaven,
and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”

When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other,

“Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph.

And there was the baby, lying in the manger.

After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished,

but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often.

The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Almost time for the party

The Magnificat: Mary’s Song of Praise

Mary responded,

“Oh, how my soul praises the Lord.
How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!
For he took notice of his lowly servant girl,
and from now on all generations will call me blessed.
For the Mighty One is holy,
and he has done great things for me.
He shows mercy from generation to generation
to all who fear him.
His mighty arm has done tremendous things!
He has scattered the proud and haughty ones.
He has brought down princes from their thrones
and exalted the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things
and sent the rich away with empty hands.
He has helped his servant Israel
and remembered to be merciful.
For he made this promise to our ancestors,
to Abraham and his children forever.”

Luke 1:46-55

Thursday, December 23, 2010

When Christmas Comes

Only God could have thought of Christmas. Its beauty is beyond the wit of mortals, so simple in its sublimity, so homey, yet so heavenly. On a tapestry woven of stable straw and starlight it unveils a picture to soften and purify the heart and to bring us back from a wisdom that is not wise, because it is hard, unholy, and unhopeful. Man would have made this event a pageant, its stage directions as follows:
Array of Great ones
The Army marches by
Fanfare of trumpets
Enter the King!

Man-made pageants pass and fade, but God works in slower and more secret ways. He blows no trumpet; He rings no bell. He begins within, seeking His ends by quiet growth, and by a strange power men call weakness, a wisdom often mistaken for folly. Man has one answer to every problem - force; but that is not the way of God. He did not send an army to conquer the world; He sent a babe to make a woman cry. The divine method is different: Instead of noise and parade there was -
The crowded Inn
A Mother and a Babe
No cradle, just a manger
A man stunned by wonder
A wandering Star.

Such wisdom bends the knee; such beauty breaks the heart - and mends it. It is a scene to sanctify the world, as if to teach us that God enters the life of man by lowly doors, attended by starry ideals and simple shepherd sentiments - the birth of Jesus, just "one of the children of the year." The are wise men who bow at such a shrine, linking a far-off pilgrim star with the cradle of a little child. By such faith, men are truly wise, knowing that no hope is too high, no dream too holy to be fulfilled - even the hope and dream of "peace on earth among men of good-will."

. . . . . .

Must we admit that Christmas is only a fairy story, heart-woven and dream-spun, and that the gray shadows which life casts over us are the grim truth? Is it no more than a figment of fancy, tender and lovely, fragrant with old memories, enshrined in the love and armored with the wonder of child-hood - a day of make-believe tugging at our hearts, with the pull of playtime? ...

No, Christmas is both a fact and a faith; but even if it were only for a brief season of good-will, a holiday from our forgetfulness of others, or just a family festival, it would be welcome. At least it is a day of poetry in the midst of drab days of prose. ...

If man is a being in whom God can dwell, as Christmas affirms, if his soul may even be a cradle of the Eternal Love, then our highest social visions have hope of fulfillment. Then, indeed, we have not only a Divine Ally working with us, but also a hidden ally, potential and prophetic, in "the better angels of our nature," to which we do not appeal in vain. ...

For Christmas is the theology of a civilization yet to be. Like the early Christians, we must live in an air of expectancy, as of something immense, impending, of a profound change to take place. ... Men of spiritual awareness in all lands feel that a time has come in the history of man when he must take a step into a higher range of being, or else lose and slip back. ... To save his life he must reverse the old order of the brute, and assert the diviner law of love, not as a poetic faith, but as the actual basis of his life. Only so can our wounded world be lifted out of the shadow of strife and cruelty into the light of justice and joy. ...

Christmas is a prophetic day, looking not so much backward, as forward. It is a history of the future, of an order of life not yet attained, of a religion not yet realized. To our dull eyes it seems visionary; but to God it is a vision of a world yet to be. ...

God abides in a terrible patience
Unangered and unworn,
And still for the child that was taken
A child is born.

Over an armed camp, in a hard old Roman world, the song of the angels rang out, proclaiming "Peace on earth among men of good-will." How far off it must have seemed on that night! How far off it seems today! Yet it will come true. It is not a myth; it is not a mockery. Surviving ages of slaughter, it still haunts us, proving its immortality. It is not a mortal melody, but a divine symphony. Because it is far off we know that it is not our music, but was sent into the soul of man by One who is as far above us as the stars are above the mists.

It is a song out of the heart of God for a hungry world. It means much that we can hear it, despite gray fears and grim facts, forever singing above the din of strife; and, hearing it, take up its strain in the busy world of today. Not in our day, not in many days perhaps, but at last it will be fulfilled. The world will fill up with men of good-will who keep step with its music and live by its law - men who know that man was made for love, because God is love, and that love and joy must blend in the final note of the great world-song.

(Briefed from "When Will Christmas Come?" by Joseph Fort Newton, in The Atlantic Monthly, December 1925. Used by permission of the author and publishers. Reprinted in "Christ and the Fine Arts" by Cynthia Pearl Maus, Harper and Brothers Publishers, London and New York, 1938, page 48-50.)

contributed by Jeremy

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

It is as if Infancy were the Whole of Incarnation - Luci Shaw

One time of the year
the new-born child
is everywhere,
planted in madonnas' arms
hay mows, stables
in palaces or farms,
or quaintly, under snowed gables,
gothic angular or baroque plump,
naked or elaborately swathed,
encircled by Della Robia wreaths,
garnished with whimsical
partridges and pears,
drummers and drums,
lit by oversize stars,
partnered with lambs,
peace doves, sugar plums,
bells, plastic camels in sets of three
as if these were what we need
for eternity.

But Jesus the Man is not to be seen.
We are too wary, these days,
of beards and sandalled feet.

Yet if we celebrate, let it be
that he
has invaded our lives with purpose,
striding over our picturesque traditions,
our shallow sentiment,
overturning our cash registers,
wielding his peace like a sword,
rescuing us into reality
demanding much more
than the milk and the softness
and the mothers warmth
of the baby in the storefront creche,
(only the Man would ask
all, of each of us)
reaching out
always, urgently, with strong
effective love
(only the Man would give
his life and live
again for love of us).

Oh come, let us adore him-
Christ--the Lord.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Nativity - Rory Holland

Over the years our family has developed quite a collection of Nativity Scenes – out of wood, wire, ceramic, and even palm leaves – all depicting that same frozen moment of time of just after the birth of Jesus. Around this time the boxes are brought up from the basement, the pieces unwrapped and then each put in their place on the mantel or the shelves around our home.

What strikes me is the wide range of expressions of that event. The Guatemalan Jesus is swaddled in bright fabric, the Ugandan Jesus has distinct African features, while the Italian Jesus looks like a very small adult with arms commandingly outstretched. In each case the reality has been shaped by the perceptions of the artist.

We all want Jesus to be a certain way, and oddly the Bible seems to provide enough latitude for that to be so – otherwise how would we end up with such a wide variety of denominations across the spectrum all claiming to worship ‘the same’ Jesus.
There are a couple of occasions in the stories about Jesus’ life where the question actually comes up. Once, after he calmed the waters his friends asked “who is this man?, or later on even Jesus asks them “who do you say I am?”

I am honestly not sure who Jesus is, or who he was supposed to be when he was born. Sure, I read the definitive statements in the Bible, but those don’t actually come from Him, they come from people trying to figure out Him. Jesus allowed others to define him, but he didn’t spend much time on it himself.

You have to assume, as I look at one of the little scenes in my living room with the shepherds and the wise men, and even Mary and Joseph, at the time they were asking that same question – Who is this little guy?

from "An Examined Life" | December 2 2009

Monday, December 20, 2010


Fra Angelico
c. 1440

contributed by Shari

Sunday, December 19, 2010

A Northern Nativity - William Kurelek

contributed by Aimee

Ukrainian-Canadian artist, William Kurelek's "A Northern Nativity" is perhaps my favorite Christmas book. The paintings depict various Canadian scenes and people groups that a 12 year old boy imagines the Christ child being born into. "A boy imagines that the nativity takes place in northern snows. He dreams that the Christ child is born to Eskimos, to Indians, to Blacks, that the Nativity takes place in a fisherman's hut, a garage, a cowboy's barn, that the holy family is given refuge in a city mission, a grain barn, and a country school." (from the jacket) There is such detail in the paintings. The Holy family is on the fringe, and usually look cold. Yet there is a sense of stillness and peace. And joy, for those who notice and welcome them. I highly recommend tracking down a copy of this book, from the library or for your own collection.

If you'd like to see more images from the book I found a youtube video of the the images set to music. (click here) It gives you a feel for the paintings, but the book has text that accompanies each painting, so don't miss out on that! Also the National Film Board did a short work on Kurelek, you can find that here if you are interested.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

contributed by Elli

Am I a full hotel?

Focused on strangers that don’t stay long

Lots of doors and


In place of a stable

Do I fill up rooms with arrogance and pride

And have no space for learning

Lock the door on grace

And leave out love?

Have I been booked with busy-ness

And not penciled in silence and stillness

Too occupied with accumulating

To realize the miracle

Could be happening

In me?

Friday, December 17, 2010

As a Woman in Labor (abridged)

a psalm by Janet Morley from All Desires Known, 3rd Edition copyright 1988

As a woman in labor longings for the birth,

I long for you, O God;

and as she is weary to see the face of her child,

so do I seek your deliverance.

She cries out, she pants, because her pain is great,

and her longing is beyond measure;

her whole body is groaning in travail

until she shall be delivered.

My soul hungers for you.

as a child for her mother's breast;

like the infant to cries out in the night,

who waits in the dark to be comforted.

At night I will cry for your justice,

and in the morning, I will seek you early;

for you O God are the source of my salvation,

and all my nourishment is found in you.

As a woman looks to her friend,

that she may open her heart and be free,

that her words may find understanding

and her fears may be contained;

so do I look to you O God, that you may search me and know my ways,

bringing me a judgment and tenderness, and sending me home released.

As the body of the lover he yearns for her beloved,

so is my desire for your touch.

She cries out from her depths, she weeps,

and cannot speak

because of the beauty of her beloved.

You also have laid a hand upon me,

and I cannot forget your ways.

contributed by Carter

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Mary Considers Her Situation

What next, she wonders,
with the angel disappearing, and her room
suddenly gone dark.

The loneliness of her news
possesses her. She ponders
how to tell her mother.

Still, the secret at her heart burns like
a sun rising. How to hold it in –
that which cannot be contained.

She nestles into herself, half-convinced
it was some kind of good dream,
she its visionary.

But then, part dazzled, part prescient –
she hugs her body, a pod with a seed
that will split her.

Luci Shaw

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


contributed by Aimee

I shared this in church on Sunday and thought it would be fitting on the blog as well:

Yesterday I was listening to Carolyn Arends' Christmas album. It touches me deeply every year. Tears being pulled from the deep places of me before the songs even start - just in anticipations of the words...

The opening lines of the song "Come and See" stopped me i my tracks:

Have you heard, have you heard
All the rumors are true
Spread the word, spread the word
This is such good news
The dream is not a dream anymore
Nothing is the same as before

I think the tears are tears of joy from imagining what the arrival of Jesus would have meant for people like Simeon and the shepherds. Years of waiting and longing for the Shalom - wholeness, completeness, peace - that the Messiah would bring. And now, according to the angels filling the sky, the "dream is not a dream anymore". The saviour has arrived. Nothing is the same as before.

But even more so the tears are from hope. That this would become true for me too. That because of Jesus' arrival my life would not be the same anymore. That the rumors I have heard of an intimate relationship with him - knowing his love would be true. For me.

When Lance asked me to parallel the pregnancy experience with discipleship, or the idea of carrying Christ in us with pregnancy... I had nothing to say. I couldn't relate the two. And now I'm wondering if it is because pregnancy and birth are so intimate...

A baby growing inside me, nothing could be closer than that. Always together, a little life growing in me. Causing my body to change shape. Kicking me.

But I don't know Jesus in that way. I am not always conscious of him, him being with me, in me. Not like during pregnancy, feeling the baby's every move inside me. I am baffled by Jesus' desire to dwell within me. It is strange for me to think of him being that close. I alternately long for and run from this intimacy. And I think I'm afraid too of what that kind of closeness might mean. Or lead too. How will my life be shaken up if I open up and receive? But part of me, the truest part, knows that I want my life shaken up. I haven't done a good job ordering it anyways. I long to answer with the hope and trust of Mary. To receive him and to be changed.

There were times, in the early days of pregnancy, when it was possible to forget for a moment that I was pregnant. If my stomach wasn't empty and no one was chopping an onion or frying ground beef within a one block radius, I might for a few minutes forget about the life that was beginning to take shape within me. And I am hoping that is happening with Jesus inside of me. that even when I try to hide from him, or pay no attention to his presence, he is still there. That his life -- like the lives of each of my children began so small - is being formed in me. And I want to believe that as time goes by, his presence in me will become less and less inconspicuous. That it will literally change my shape and alter me.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

When Half-Spent Was The Night

contributed by Nelson

The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone. ~ John 1:4

As many of the posts of recent days have shown, the image of light piercing darkness is one that many of us like to dwell on during Advent. I, too, am drawn to it like a magnet, and there are good reasons for this.

For one thing, it's visually beautiful. A simple candle lighting up a dark place can have a mesmerizing effect, fixing me to my seat, focusing my gaze on its flickering glow. It also reminds me of our universal need for light -- its energy and warmth; also its ability to guide and reveal that which is hidden or unclear. And it is a reminder that, spiritually speaking, our 'default' state is darkness, but light is always available to us in the presence of the Spirit. The penetrating power of grace shines brighter because it finds us in the darkest spaces.

About four hundred years ago, somebody wrote a hymn which draws its imagery from an ancient prophecy about a new Branch from David's family that would bear fruit from an old root (Isaiah 11:1). The hymnwriter depicts this Branch as a Rose, which performs its light- and life-giving action when it seems least likely: in the dead of winter, in the middle of the night.

Only a few years ago, inspired by both the poetic truth and the melodic beauty of this hymn, I arranged a version of it for my jazz trio. You may wish to meditate on these words while listening to the music. And, if you're so inclined, feel free to add a comment about what you hear in it.

Listen and/or download your own copy here.

Lo, how a Rose e'er blooming
from tender stem has sprung!
Of Jesse's lineage coming
as saints of old have sung.
It came, a floweret bright,
amid the cold of winter,
when half-spent was the night.

Isaiah 'twas foretold it,
the Rose I have in mind.
With Mary we behold it,
the virgin mother kind.
To show God's love aright,
she bore too us a Savior,
when half-spent was the night.

Monday, December 13, 2010

What's Next?

contributed by Jeremy

Christmas has always been, of course, a special time for me. Every year the advent season pulls me in. For some reason, though, advent gripped me especially tightly in 2006.

Maybe it was the early snow fall we got that December that had me feeling “Christmassy” a bit earlier than usual. Maybe it was the anticipation of the end of a semester’s worth of work for the Bible College where I was employed at the time, and the deep breath that comes with the satisfaction of completing long-running projects. Perhaps it had to do with the little bit of traveling I was eagerly anticipating during the Christmas break, visiting family members who I don’t live near enough to see as often as I’d like.

But I think the biggest reason that I became so pulled in to the season of expectation that year is that my experience of the preceding calendar year brought me to a new understanding of the purpose of advent. Let me try to explain.

Growing up, going to the little church that was as much a family that raised me as it was the place my parents, sisters and I went to worship, I looked forward every year to the time we’d pull out the old advent wreath and place it on the table in the front of the sanctuary, lighting one more candle each week as we had the week before, until finally on Christmas morning all 5 would be lit, and the Sunday School teacher would give us a brown paper bag with an orange, a candy cane, and some candies and nuts inside. Advent, then, became very much a ‘countdown to Christmas’ for us. Though I’ve learned more about the history and meaning of advent since, my attitude towards the season remained much like this childlike understanding for a long time.

Then came 2006. 2006 was a year that, for me, started on a low note. I stumbled out of 2005, having been hurt in places I don’t typically allow anyone to go near. Out of that hurt came fear, loneliness, and skepticism. On top of that, I found my own family in what resembled turmoil, as old wounds surfaced that we thought had healed. I felt my foundations being shaken, and doubt began to replace faith. I tried to hide it, but 2006 was, for a long time, a dark year for me.

The word “advent” means “coming”. For us, it marks a season where we wait for the coming of the whole point of it all. The coming of something that might make it possible for us to keep going, to have any sort of hope at all, in a life that doesn’t make sense at the best of times, and leaves us reeling with hurt at the worst.

What I began learning that year is that Jesus didn’t just come in to a world that was doing just fine on its own, and throw out an invite to a great party upstairs, should we feel like joining. I began to understand and resonate with the part before he comes, when he was still “coming”. The part where things are just hard and we wonder if we should just toss it all away; and we cry out “how long??” just like the Israelites did. I think advent is a time for us to feel the pain of unfulfilled expectation, to grapple with unrealized dreams, to feel pain and loneliness, and to ask God, “When?” I think in some way, my “Advent ‘06” started nearly a year early, and that the coming of the literal advent season finally named what I’d felt for so long.

Of course, we don’t want to have a season set aside for the struggle. Advent would be a lot nicer if it was just the countdown to Christmas: a time of love, joy, and peace on earth. A season of waiting doesn’t seem like something I’ll enjoy. I don’t always do well with waiting. The 12 minutes it takes to get my plate of food at a restaurant feels like an hour. If my bus that’s scheduled every 12 minutes doesn’t show up within 5 minutes of me arriving at the bus stop, I begin to question the competency of the driver. And yet advent calls us each year to slow down and wait.

To wait, yes… but we don’t always know quite what it is we’re waiting for. If you ever, as a child, peeked in your parents’ closet to find out what they had purchased for your Christmas present, you know that knowing exactly what’s coming takes the wind out of the sails of expectation. To wait in the season of advent is to ask the question, “What’s next?” This is a question asked in the faith that something good might be just around the corner.

So this year, as we light another advent candle every week (or open a little cardboard door to reveal another chocolate every day), take time to join me in waiting. Take the time to “listen to your life”, as Frederick Buechner would write. Allow yourself to remember both the pain and the joy of this past year. Allow yourself to feel the pain of being incomplete, and yet…

…and yet, know there’s something more. Know that we wait, not in vain, but in hope and faith. Ask with me, “what’s next?” And open your eyes to what goodness might be just around the corner…

Sunday, December 12, 2010


contributed by Shari

The rain muffles engines and softens the colors of shiny cars and dark pre-war apartment buildings that fill the view from my window. Behind the curtain of rain, I pour through beautiful black and white, hand-made photographs, fresh from the magical pools of the darkroom.

A dear friend has just given me this series of photographs, a late wedding gift, and they document the hours before my wedding, the preparation, the laughter, the quietness. There are scenes with hair half way completed: curls piled high against waves, scenes of my sister clapping, her hands like flying birds, scenes of my mother looking on as a stylist puts a gigantic feather in my hair. There are images of mirrors, fresh fruit, dresses, ribbons.

Perhaps, at first glance, in spite of the brilliant light and textures of the images, the subject seems rather innocuous and superficial. Why would I want to see the early stages of the day, hours filled with attention to our appearance? Are these photographs about vanity, or is the outward activity an expression of something more?

It is somehow the invisible things that make the visible so weighty and wondrous. It is the story behind the twinkle lights, underneath the cover of stars, inside the smell of pine, hiding in our hearts.

May every outward thing cause us to look in and discover Jesus of Nazareth, and may these days in this season be like palm branches, preparing for His coming.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

On Buses

contributed by Lance Odegard

Buses are the only vehicles you find
driving around with the interior lights on—
rumbling through the city with illuminated strangers,
light spilling out of the windows, melting the watching dark.

Do you find this odd? Surely TransLink
isn’t showing new concern, hoping to provide a few extra
moments for students to catch up on reading,
are they? The driver does know where he's going, right?

He’s not up there with a map draped across the steering
wheel – was that Alma or Arbutus?
And it’s not like we all have lots to catch up on and need to visit— that your new sweater?…

So, why are the lights still on?

They’re not much. They feel faint and foreign,
almost invisible to our indifference—
yet in the midst of this absorbent darkness, light,
quietly resting on the tops of our shoulders.

It’s 10:55pm on a Tuesday night
and I can barely suspend the disbelief to admit this,
to hold the notion that we ride accompanied,
even to say: Emmanuel.

Friday, December 10, 2010


contributed by Elli

Our Advent log is atrocious. I asked a classmate for some firewood that still had the rounded bark cover to one side. She gave me a wobbley, uneven, cut up ragged piece of wood about 2 inches thick at most. We tried for a couple days to carve out the candle holes with David's leatherman which didn't work, and finally on Sunday night we were able to drill holes with a borrowed electric drill (thanks Aimee!). We got it home and realized the holes were still much too small, and after attempting again to whittle with the leatherman decided just to shave down the bottom of our candles. David then meticulously melted pieces of the cut off wax to secure the candles in place. The candles stick out of the wood like skinny crooked teeth. When the log shifts onto one side all the candles lean so the wax drips onto the coffee table.

For some reason, I am in love with it. I sit beside it every morning to do my devotions and on the Tuesday of the first week of advent David and I had our official First Week of Advent lighting. Our living room still had sheets and pillows from guests the past weekends strewn about, mugs and books and papers that never find a home in files or the recycle bin. We turned off all the lights and I watched with childish excitement as David met the head of the match with its box and the flame grew. I didn't cheap out on the candles (pure beeswax...mmm) so it lit right away. We sat back and without deciding this between us, went into silence.

For me this sort of thing needs some silence. This recognition for both of us that we are disheveled and junky and really don't look like much. But then the light is there, and it really does take all the focus. There was a moment looking at it that I didn't want to light the others; I couldn't imagine it looking any better than it did with just that one candle lit. Just one light was enough for me to feel a bit of hope that words spoken may just be true, and that I really can trust that God's promises aren't forgotten. He sees me.

David and I daily wobble between excitement and joy with this pregnancy, and fear with the knowledge we don't have a clue what we're going to do. I'm going to take a try at believing God's light will guide me on a path of peace. It is so much more alluring and curiously welcoming than the despairing dark corners I tend to find myself in.

Thursday, December 9, 2010


contributed by Terri

Nelson's grandma continues with her struggle between this life and the next. I went to see her on Tuesday. She slept the entire time I was there. She is definitely approaching heaven's doorway. The family has told her that we are ready to let her go. We talked with Grandma about who is waiting for her in heaven.

On Sunday, while Nelson's cousin was visiting with her, this is what happened (from her email to the family):

"Grandma was awake but much more weak, she was not able to speak very well although she tried a number of times. I thought her hands and arms felt a bit cold so I got her another blanket. After I placed the blanket on her she spoke so loudly it was practically yelling, "Glory to God, Glory! Glory to God, Glory!" Then she turned and fixed her stare on me and as clear as day she said to me, "You be happy. You be happy."

Yes, that is right: Glory to God, Glory! We do not know all that is going on inside Grandma's mind as she gets closer to heaven's entrance. But she has been an amazing blessing to us all as we get closer to the celebration of our King's birth.

Angels by Kathy Eppick

Nelson's Grandma started her new life in heaven on Wednesday at 5pm. She will be missed by many.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Afterwards – Richard Osler

The Annunciation, by Fra Angelico, 1430

Mystery. Paraclete. God’s particular dance with the ordinary.
Usually, in the great 15th century paintings, shown as the dove.
You have to look up to see it, above the angel. Mary, sees only
the angel, holds fast the gaze of the extraordinary. It’s love,

the lover that hovers high. Waiting. Does it know the answer
she will give to the angel? Can it read already the intricacies
of the human heart? Or does it have to wait to hear from her?
Each wing beat a forever until she said “Let it be.” Afterwards

the world resumed its normal orbit – there, for a heart's beat,
it had tilted closer to the sun – the moon had wavered. All of
the old loyalties had felt the shudder, felt the blow in the feet
and up to the belly. No one divined the nature of the disturbance

but her. The one whose belly now housed the Word, a universe.
This world, now different , the Spirit, taken, made utterly human.
Word translated in a womb to the language we would dismiss or
read as truly fantastic, thrum of miracle in the blood of a woman.

contributed by Nelson