Born into Darkness

Jesus is born into darkness,
a darkness that’s over the deep:
the deep sorrowing of our world,
the mourning over murdered children,
the soft sobbing of the hungry,
the wailing over bombed cities,
the despairing over a polluted earth,
the crying over our own sad stories.
On our darkest Christmas eve,
when we’ve forgotten what light looks like,
a baby is born. 

On that first Christmas eve,
the baby came like all babies–
with pain, with great labour,
with giant heaving breaths.
Hope and fear mixed together
with blood, sweat and tears,
Jesus is born.
Light fills the eyes of Mary and Joseph
as they behold their newborn son,
a child promised of God.
Held by loving arms,
his tiny eyes open,
seeing the world God created
for the very first time.

In the same way in our darkness,
light struggles to be born.
We struggle against hatred,
we work against prejudice,
we labour in the face of despair.
With blood, sweat and tears,
with heaving breaths of hope,
Jesus is born.
In the now-done darkness,
we open our eyes
to the beauty of God’s present
for the very first time.

[thank you to Gerard Manley Hopkins for the phrase “now-done darkness” which he used in his 1918 poem “Carrion Comfort”]

New Book Coming Soon!

Carol Penner has written a devotional book for Lent that explores the challenges of repentance and forgiveness. Forty reflections and prayers to deepen your walk with God as you prepare for Easter.  

You can order it here!

About Carol Penner

I am a Mennonite pastor currently teaching theology at Conrad Grebel University College in Waterloo, Ontario. I’ve served congregations in Ontario and most recently, Alberta.

I love to write and to lead worship! If you are finding my writing helpful, I would love to hear from you! Feel free to use or adapt the material here, it is all written by me. If printing material, please credit “Copyright Carol Penner” (and say whether you modified it). If publishing, please contact me for permission. Contact me at

Recent Posts

Posts By Month
  • Popular Tags

    Your browser doesn't support the HTML5 CANVAS tag.

  • Worship resources in a Mennonite voice for ears of all kinds

    Are you looking for resources for a Christian service? Feel free to use or adapt my prayers, poems and litanies. They are written in a Mennonite voice, for ears of all kinds. 

    Feel free to use these orally in a worship service (in-person or broadcasted)  , but if they are printed in a bulletin please use the following credit

    “Copyright Carol Penner”

    Contact me for use in newsletters or printed resources, I am happy to grant permission but I would like to know how my writing is being used.  You can reach me at