No Assembly Required
Perhaps because it comes at the end of the year, Christmas is a time when I tend to put so much of life together. It's not just the things that go under the tree. At Christmas I am prone to repair old relationships and broken promises. I am more pensive about ill-fitting moods and careless remembrances. So I always get a bit mystical at Christmas. And at this beautiful season of the year, I emphasize within myself the real and enduring values I have frequently hurried past during earlier times of the year.
For some, the season of the Incarnation is a time when revelry turns to drunkenness and suicide is more frequent than at any other time of the year. But perhaps this is so because most of the human race is trying to assemble its own ill-fitting priorities on Christmas Eve.
The anticipation of earlier Christmas Eves has always been complicated by my "fatherly" need to put something together in order to delight my children. One Christmas this need required me to assemble a Radio Flyer wagon. Another Yuletide, it was a dollhouse. Another time, an electric train. Under the festive lights of Christmas Eve, I was always racing to get something assembled and so furnish my children with grand surprises.
Somehow that's what Calvary and Easter Sunday seem to me to be about. God has always been putting human redemption together, assembling the complex parts of history and human need so that He could give to us the grandest present of all.
And I respond, "Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift."
She waits while over there he knocks. Again
Refused! Nor is there place throughout the town.
Be strong as steel, lest Joseph sense the pain
You feel. It's yet a while till you lay down
To sleep. "There's nowhere else to go tonight,"
He said. She fought the burning in her eyes:
Rebuked her tears before they fell. Starlight
Crowned the cold, small town with fiery skies.
He took her in his arms and that embrace
Dissolved the desperation that they faced.
"I paid the stable rent," he said with shame.
"Your son will come tonight." One kiss she gave.
Joy blessed the silent night! Salvation came —
An infant whimper from the shepherd's cave.
This little foot! Can we ever know where,
Grown stronger, it shall walk? A ragged girl
Now holds her baby close. The barnyard air
Is stirred by alien wings, and light is hurled
Across the midnight fields to startle sheep.
While thunder deafens shepherds, fiery flame
Ignites the skies with infant footprints, deep
In space, to trace His cosmic, saving Name.
Poor vagrant mother, count your joys as thieves.
Your little boy must grow to feel and bleed.
The universe already sees and grieves.
Your nursing martyr and His coming need.
This tiny foot that walked through stars above,
Must yet wade pain to keep a date with love.
All three selections are from An Owner's Manual for the Unfinished Soul, by Calvin Miller, from Shaw Publishers..