My sixty-first Nowell
At midwinter, bearing my gifts,
I set off in search of you and peace.
The first church I tried was locked
with an apologetic note pinned to the door.
I sat on a bench in the pale sunshine
and tried to open to you.
The heat of your star entered me
and warmed my frozen heart a little
so that I knew I was not as alone as I believed.
The second church I tried was open
but full of mourners for a funeral.
I felt there was no room inside for me
so I stood at a distance and watched
as the coffin was lifted from the hearse.
Your breeze fluttered the vicar’s surplice
then, as it passed by me, breathed on me
so that I knew I was not as deathless as I believed.
Under the broad tent of the midwinter sky
I took my gifts and journeyed home
where I tried to open myself to your presence.
A joyful old woman appeared to me
and helped me give birth to a future self
the one with two thousand years of devoted practice
who stood before me and looked upon me
with infinite love and the understanding of the ages
so that I knew I cannot help but live more in that likeness.
These were my gifts at Christmas.
These I now pass on to you, dear readers, with love.
Gifts of Christmastide
What happens if we sit and open to the presence of God?
If we really sit, really open?
What happens if we sit and open to you, God,
beloved, friend? What happens?
An infinite number of paths appear,
a million moments streaming forward
twisting, braiding, forming the future.
Amongst the infinite, here’s a path
that appears one Christmastide
as I sit with you all.
A rush of feeling shoots up my body and springs from my eyes.
Then you are here with me, within me.
There is no love so loving
no innocence so innocent.
There is no purity so pure
no sweetness so sweet.
You are the spirit of my children when they were little,
infinitely creative, playful, trusting,
writ large within me and around me.
I let you come and now I let you go.
I cannot hold on to you
for that is not how it is.
I am birth in every moment.
I am the gifts of Christmastide
here shared and spread and multiplied.