Inside and Outside the Stable: A Christmas Poem

Inside the stable there is darkness pushing in,
a small light, perhaps, illuminating three faces.
The murmurs of a baby’s cries, his snuffling and suckling,
the rustle of straw, the sound of animals shifting.
The smell of sweat and blood and manure,
the fragrance of milk and sweet baby.
The  touch of a hand on a smooth small forehead,
a man’s arm holding a body still shaking with afterpains.

Outside the stable, darkness is pushed away,
radiant brightness illuminating shepherds, flocks.
The gasps of fright as grown men topple to the ground,

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Advent Adventure

A story of light dawning,
light that is yearned for, longed for, desperately sought,
a story of light dawning in darkness;
darkness that covers the deep,
darkness that speaks of death.

A story of hope dawning,
hope that is yearned for, longed for, desperately sought,
a story of hope dawning in the midst of despair;
despair that defeats us,
despair that speaks of death….

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The Foreseeable Future

A hymn of praise for fists uncurled!
Alleluias on our lips for ammunition abandoned!
Guns dropped, forgotten,
bombs defused, harmless!
Fervent thanks for tanks rusting,
for jet fighters permanently grounded!
This future, peace-bright,
hovers on the horizon of your kingdom.
It will dawn the day we remember
there are no soldiers—
                only your children, beloved and loving,
there are no borders—

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Great Webs of Connection

Great webs of connection circle the earth.

They burrow in cables under the ocean,

they permeate the air with radio waves,

they bounce off satellites in space.

The world is teeming with nets of interaction,

a global feast of signals, prepared and digested

each and every minute of every day.

Byte by byte, God scans the fragmented world.

Comfortable with every platform,

fluent in every operating system,

God follows every thread to its ultimate conclusion.

God knows where you log on,

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God chooses face-time

We’re always calling God.

Where are you God?

Why don’t you pick up?

The phone rings and rings,

echoing in that heavenly chamber.

We check the number,

this has got to be right.

Finally God’s answering machine clicks in.

We hear God’s voice,

“Why are you calling me?

I’m standing right beside you.”

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Rain Grace Upon Us

On our dry journey,

forgiveness is the water on the horizon,

and we’re the pilgrims in the desert

who cannot possibly walk there.

Tied up tight,

revenge is a hot little bundle

we hug to our chest.

We are plagued with hurt;

the betrayal, the murder,

the verbal barbs, the abandonment

the lack of love, whatever.

We have been robbed

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Light: A Christmas Eve Reader’s Theatre

We are people of the light…

we say, “Let there be light!” And behold!

Lamplight, headlight, spotlight,

flashlight, floodlight, footlight,

searchlight, stoplight, streetlight,

windows cascading light,

skyscraper towers of light,

satellites that compete with starlight,

screens of all kinds lit with light,

light sabres, lighthouses and light bulbs;

halogen, incandescent, fluorescent!

We dodge deep darkness with twinkly lights.

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The Sweet Good-bye

At the last, let it be a sweet good-bye.

All business finished.

All affairs tidied.

All loose ends attended.

All regrets squared away.

All loved ones gathered.

All words of love spoken.

All life lived fully.

One last look,

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Waiting in the Waiting Room

A loved one’s heart attack is like a closed door;

he is on that side and we are on this side.

The door opens with the sudden collapse.

Ambulance attendants act as ushers.

Now we are in the waiting room waiting

and he is on the other side of the door

in ICU having a heart attack.

The waiting room is suspended in time….

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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 www.leadinginworship.com” (and say whether you modified it). If publishing, please contact me for permission. Contact me at carol@leadinginworship.com

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