It’s time for more of Mom’s poems. This month I’m sharing two of her Christmas poems. Enjoy!
(Tips: Read these poems aloud to hear them best. And see here for an introduction to this series.)
At Christmastime the bells of joy
Ring out in every town–
But it was for our sorrowing
That Jesus Christ came down.
At Christmastime the carollers sing
To celebrate good cheer.
But still Christ comes to comfort those
Who shed a private tear.
At Christmastime the Christ was born
To heal our grief and pain.
And soon to banish death and tears
The Christ will come again.
– Elaine Gingrich (shared on her 2014 Christmas cards)
CHRISTMAS COMES AGAIN THIS YEAR:
TO LOVE IS TO WAIT FOR
(I Cor. 2:9; Isaiah 64:4)
Once again, Lord, Christmas finds us waiting,
Needy, with great want for You and Your coming,
Like Mary awaiting her birth pangs,
And old Simeon waiting to die.
We are weary of groaning and wanting.
But without want, we would have no need of hope,
And Paul states we are saved by hope,
Like the wise men with eyes on the sky.
What shall we do with this severe blessing of waiting,
Of hopefully living without?
Waiting is the time for preparing…
An open door, a welcoming heart,
A costly gift and a packed bag for the journey to worship.
Waiting is the time for remembering…
Ancient prophecies finally fulfilled,
A virgin, a baby, the angels, a star.
Christmas is waiting for a promise to come true,
Doing without until the gift is ready.
Maybe there is not even a scrap of tissue in sight—
But if we know that the one who promised loves us,
Then we know that it is worth our while to keep waiting.
To love is to wait for.
Do we truly know the One who promised Christmas?
Do we love the One who said that he who waits will not be disappointed,
Will not be embarrassed in front of the watching world?
Because He will come again and keep His Word!
He said that the crown is laid up, that the gift may tarry,
But in the fulness of time, behold He will come quickly!
But sometimes when the race is hard and the wait is long
Our nights are spent impatiently watching for a star bright enough to guide us,
Trying, with our prayers, to punch holes in heaven’s brass canopy,
Filling empty space with despairing baby-faith cries.
Meanwhile the Star pinpricks through the cloudy curtain.
We feel an unexpected warmth behind us
Warming our bent backs, stooped under heavy burdens.
We turn and raise our damp eyes to the kindest light
Piercing the gloom with an undeserved grace,
Spotlighting the Desire of the ages—
The Healer of our hearts with smiling face
Lying in a simple stable,
Revealed in an old Book.
The pages turn and the glory burns ever brighter,
Delighting with miracle and majesty,
Truth and transformation,
Wisdom and comfort;
Giving and demanding all that we are and have.
Emmanuel! God is with us while we wait.
Till He comes, the long-awaited One!
Lord, this Christmas may I again face the darkness with hope,
And humbly accept this gift of waiting.
To love is to wait for.
– Elaine Gingrich, December 13, 2012/December 14, 2014
Two Poems, One Hope
At first glance these two poems are very different. One trips with apparent innocence through three short, parallel stanzas. The other explores unguided paths of free-verse thought.
Thematically, however, the poems are similar. Both confess our human groaning and pain; both look to the past, the present and the future, discovering hope; both long for Christ to come again; and both wonder that “God is with us while we wait.”
One poem exudes radiant hope; the other waits long to unwrap the gift of hope with “not even a scrap of tissue in sight,” until finally hope glimmers in the dark. Whatever your experience this season, “may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope” (Rom. 15:13).
As Mom says, “Christmas is a bit like signs of spring in the heart of winter, but the actual change of weather is still to come, and so we ache for the full radiance of the Son in that day when we shall be with Him and when our world will be made new. Meanwhile He is with us, warming our hearts and lighting our imperfect world with a hint of heaven.”
If you enjoyed these poems, leave a comment here or send an email to Mom at . She’ll enjoy hearing from you!
6 thoughts on “At Christmastime; Christmas Comes Again [Poems by Mom]”
Your poems are meaningful and well-crafted. Thanks for writing. I try to teach poetry writing to my high school students every year, and every year I wish I could convey more effectively that meaningful fresh language is the foundation of good poetry. I’d turn them loose more quickly on free verse if I knew they “got” this.
Thanks, Miriam. I’ll make sure Mom sees your kind comment! And don’t give up on your teaching of poetry. I suspect that one or two or a dozen students will truly “get” what you’re teaching and the rewards will be rich and long-lasting for them and for their future readers.
What beautiful reflections. These poems are invitations to pause and be present to the mysteries of the Incarnation, the “here and not yet”, the beauty and ache in waiting for the completion of all that for which we were made. Thank you!
Thank you Carolyn! You have perfectly expressed the heart of these poems and what I long for each reader to experience. If only our words can invite to contemplation of the Word! Have a wonder-filled Christmas!
“What shall we do with this severe blessing of waiting, Of hopefully living without?” I had thought it just my youth that saw life as a waiting game. Now, I realize that God gave us waiting to teach us hope. He has proven faithful when I have waited on Him, yet somehow I still fall short of faith that He will do it again. Thank-you Elaine, for the reminder…I’ll be watching for the next one.
Thanks Yolanda. 🙂 Yes, waiting will always be present in our experience as long as we live, waiting for something here on earth or waiting for something only possible in the next world….”things that are not now, nor could be” as Thomas Kelly wrote in his wonderful hymn. I suppose that is why God has spoken blessing on those who wait on Him. Did you find the latest poem post? It is a bit lighter. 🙂