Thursday, December 24, 2020

Poetry Friday: Christmas Day

Merry Christmas! This is my 50th Poetry Friday post of the year. Except for two weeks in July when I was very sick and then hospitalized, I posted something every Friday of 2020. In 2021 my goal is to post on all 52 Fridays. 


Today I'd like to share some seasonal fare.


Two of my favorite musicians, Sting and Nichole Nordeman, come together in this song. Well, not literally. Sting doesn't sing in this version of his song "Fragile," but Nichole Nordeman has combined that song with the traditional Christmas piece, "What Child is This?" Enjoy it through this video, where it's paired with art. 


I love this because it reminds me of the beautiful doctrine of the Incarnation. That's what Christmas is all about, that Jesus joined us in human flesh, coming as a vulnerable baby.


In the same spirit, here's something I wrote this year. For the last several years, I have done a photo-a-day practice during Advent. I've used various prompts, but this year I used these, from Rethink Church. I post a photo and a short meditation each day in response to the prompts. Below is my photo and reflection from December 13th, when the prompt was "Carry."




Advent Photo December 13th: Carry

Tap-taps carry people where they need to go, crammed inside. The joke, and the reality, is that there's always room for one more. Passengers carry whatever they have bought or what they're going to sell, and each person also carries all the weight of life's worries. 

This one says on it, "Exit pour le ciel." Exit for the sky, or heaven. Today's destination is likely to be rather nearer to home. And meanwhile, there's Hebrews 12:14 painted on the top, too, words to live by: "Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord." 

Everyone carries so much, every day, whether they ride in a tap-tap or an SUV with tinted windows or just walk along, pushing a wheelbarrow. "Anpil pwoblèm," they say, if you take time to talk to them. "Tèt chajé." (Lots of problems - full head.) 

One of my favorite Christmas carols is "O Little Town of Bethlehem," with its line about the "hopes and fears of all the years" being met in its quiet streets the night of Jesus' birth.  And I always think of our own little town. O enormous sprawling city of Port-au-Prince, how noisy we see thee lie, above thy deep and dreamless sleep (or lack of sleep, for the insomniacs among us), the silent stars go by. Yet in thy dark streets (with no EDH [electricity] again) shineth the everlasting light. The hopes and fears of all the years, or even just the hopes and fears of this one day in December, are met in thee tonight. O Lord, show us how to find the everlasting light, not just in heaven but here on earth, not just in the future but today. The light to see the road ahead, and keep going, with everything we're carrying. 


 Irene Latham has today's roundup. Merry Christmas, Irene!


michelle kogan said...

I like your powerful and peek into Port-au-Prince reflection Ruth! Especially your last paragraph, and this part, " O Lord, show us how to find the everlasting light, not just in heaven but here on earth, not just in the future but today. The light to see the road ahead, and keep going, with everything we're carrying." And ah yes we all often carry so much. Great pic too–thanks, Merry Christmas!

Bridget Magee said...

So much to ponder in your post, Ruth. Thank you for the song and the empathetic affirmation that "each person also carries all the weight of life's worries". I look forward to your 52 PF posts in 2021. :)

Linda B said...

It's early Christmas morning here, Ruth. Thank you for the beautiful song(s) to start my own Christmas. I love that you blessed your own Port-au-Prince in your poem and found a beautiful way to include everyone in a blessing. Yes, every person carries needs that can use our care. Merry Christmas!

Ruth said...

from Irene Latham via email, since she couldn't comment on the blog for some reason: "Everyone carries so much, every day,"
I love that!! And mostly I am struck by your dedication to these writing practices during 2020... WOW! Keep going. I look forward to your 52 posts in 2021.

Liz Steinglass said...

Such a rich and layered post. I love the idea of always room for one more, and so important to think about all that people carry everyday, often invisible to the rest of us. I also love your revision of the song for your particular home. So loving. Merry Christmas!

Ruth said...

Facebook message from someone else who couldn't comment, Molly Hogan: "For some reason I couldn't comment on your blog. I was struck by your comments about how much we all carry with us and also about how there is always room for one more passenger in the tap-taps. Wishing you the best of holidays! (Oh -- and congrats on an impressive writing streak!)"

Ruth said...

A comment via email from Carol Varsalona:
Merry Christmas to you. I thought your blog post was lovely the way it was written. It brought inspiration at the end of my day. But I could not leave you a comment. Your ending was a powerful prayer that will close my day: O Lord, show us how to find the everlasting light, not just in heaven but here on earth, not just in the future but today. The light to see the road ahead, and keep going, with everything we're carrying.

Mary Lee said...

"Anpil pwoblèm" could be the caption below the picture of 2020 in the Yearbook of all the years. Let's give 2020 the "Most Likely to Cause Redirection" award. But let's also acknowledge the creativity that 2020 inspired, and the determination to carry on, even with all we're carrying (as individuals and as a species).

Thanks for your 50 PFs, and looking forward to 52 in 2021!

laurasalas said...

Wow. 50 out of 52 weeks. That's amazing, Ruth! Your description of these makes me think of my daughter's description of riding in tuktuks in Kolkatta for 6 months. Always room for one more. She sometimes ended up with a stranger's child on her lap. Appropriate to the season! Merry Christmas, Ruth, and all good health in 2021!

Liz Garton Scanlon said...

50/52 is quite an incredible record! Thanks for this lovely post -- such a lovely devotion.

Linda Stoll said...

Ruth, thanks for sharing this new to me song! I'm going to head on back and listen to it fully, contemplating its beauty and truth.

New Year's blessings to you and yours ...

Linda Mitchell said...

Congratulations on 50 posts this year! I don't think that you can be held accountable for those pesky hospital weeks. I so enjoy the practice of getting something on the blog each week. It's like running or walking. It's always a bit difficult to get started. But, it's good for me in the end. I also love, 'O Little Town of Bethlehem.' It's such a beautiful and meaningful song for all the reasons you mention. Those silent stars get me every time. Merry Christmas, Ruth!