Monday, 24 December 2012

Seasonal Inspiration Part 2

This is the second instalment of pieces I have discovered in recent weeks that have inspired me...I hope they speak to you as they have spoken to me...Happy Christmas to you all...

“What is this day that you call Christmas” by Waldemar Argow

An old Buddhist said: “Tell me, what is this day you cherish so, that you call Christmas?”

And the Stranger from the West said: “Christmas is not a day, really. It is light, I think. It comes when days are shortest and darkest and hearts despair, and it reminds us that winter death is a temporary thing and that light and life are eternal.

“and it is hope. For it demonstrates how kind and generous and self-forgetting human beings can be. And we know that what people can be sometimes, they can, if they will, be most times.”

“And assuredly, it is love. Its symbol is a newborn babe, warm and safe in his mother’s arms. To be sure, he was born a long, long time ago. Yet through the ages his influence as he became a man and the truths he taught and the love he incarnated have proved stronger and dearer in matters that matter most than all the kings and armies and governments of history. Oh, whatever else it may be, Christmas is indeed love.”
“I think I understand,” the old Buddhist said. “Christmas is like a lotus blossom. When it blooms, it holds, as in a chalice, the beauty of the world.

“Yes, you do understand,” said the stranger from the West. “When it comes, Christmas brings the light that redeems us from darkness, the hope that casts out fear and the love that overcomes the world. “It is Christmas! We rejoice. And suddenly, the lotus blooms...”

“Let us be that stable” by Patrick Murfin

Today, let us be that stable,
Let us be the place
That welcomes at last
The weary and rejected,
The pilgrim stranger,
The coming life.

Let not the frigid winds that pierce
Our inadequate walls,
Or our mildewed hay,
Or the fetid leavings of our cattle
Shame us from our beckoning.

Let our outstretched arms
Be a manger
So that the infant hope,
Swaddled in love,
May have a place to lie.

Let a cold beacon
Shine down upon us
From a solstice sky
To guide to us
The seekers who will come.

Let the lowly shepherd
And all who abide
In the fields of their labours
Lay down their crooks
And come to us.

Let the seers, sages, and potentates
Of every land
Traverse the shifting dunes,
The rushing rivers,
And the stony crags
To seek our rude frame.

Let herdsmen and high lords
Kneel together
Under our thatched roof
To lay their gifts
Before Wonder.
Today, let us be that stable. 

Here’s a conversation that took place between William L Barnett and a large oldish looking fellow in red outfit with white beard...I think he may have been called Nicholas...

There he sat, red suit, conical hat, fur-trimmed and all, on the chilly park bench, glancing skyward as though assessing the chance of snow.

I sat beside him. “How come you’re not out there on the corner with your iron pot and bell?”

“I am not one of them,” he replied, “I happen to be Santa Claus,”

I smiled, pleasantly enough, but my doubt must have showed.

“I really am,” he said, a trifle wistfully.

“But how can you tell if you are the real Santa Claus?”

“That is the question,” said he, “How can you tell the true prophet from the false?”

“But do you really live at the North Pole?”

“Legend,” he replied, “The fact is that I am everywhere,”

“Are you also omniscient and omnipotent?”

“You mistake me for a friend of mine,”

A little embarrassed, I yet persisted. “Perhaps you only think you are Santa Claus.”

“That would be my problem, not yours. But I might point out that there are no children around.”

“That is odd,” I conceded.

“The reason,” he said “Is that I cannot be seen.”

Like a chess player crying out “Check-mate” I said, “I see you!”

“And that is your problem, not mine.”

We both looked up at the sky. “It might snow,” he said, “It’s better when it snows, but snow or not I must be going.”
Going where?”

“To distribute toys, of course.”

“One last question. What is the spirit of Christmas?”

“Well, if you want to sound scholarly you might call it the ultimate potential. It’s the moment when the best that is human surmounts all the stumbling blocks on the path to becoming. You care, so you help. You love, so you give. And you dream of the time when this brief season will be extended to the whole year.”

“Don’t you sometimes get discouraged?”

“Dear me, I’ve only been at this for a few centuries. Give me time.”

Then he called out: “Blitzen, Blitzen! Where is that dratted dear?”

Suddenly there came a whole cloudful of snow, right upon us, and by the time I had wiped my eyes clear, I was alone on the beach. But there were hoofmarks in the snow and one dry spot on the bench, a very broad spot where he had sat, 

“The Strange Arithmetic of Christmas” by Jeremiah Jenkins

I deliberately requested your minister to allow me to write to you about Christmas. I was a teacher of arithmetic for fifteen years in a preparatory school, so I want to write about the inverted arithmetic of Christmas.

Christmas differs from figures and sums and dollars and crows-at-a football game. You can add these together and get more. But with Christmas, you can add all the Santa Clauses on earth and there is still only one Santa Claus. Or all the trees and there is still only one Tree. Or perhaps all the births of children but there is still only one Bethlehem story. Or all the families, and there is still one family – yours!

It is when you start dividing Christmas that it begins to grow. It multiplies with division. It defies the rules. If you have six TV sets ad give two or three away, you have less. But when it comes to the richness of love, the currency of gratitude or the document of faith, the more you give the more you possess. To teach is to learn. To encourage someone and give them your faith is to strengthen your own faith. To love is to know love.

Christmas is like a lot of things; it can be misused. I think it was never meant for raucous public displays. Its carols were not intended to be blared into the streets. Its colors probably were not meant to be emblazoned like advertising – or even associated with advertising. Christmas is the artistry of the world; it is the subtle touch, the gentle word, the endearing act, the loving gift. Share these qualities, divide them, and you will find miraculously that they have grown with division. This is the strange arithmetic of Christmas.

"A Christmas Prayer" Rev Maureen Killoran

Not gold, nor myrrh, nor even frankincense 
would I have for you this season, 
but simple gifts, the ones that are hardest to find, 
the ones that are perfect, 
even for those who have everything (if such there be).
I would (if I could) 
have for you the gift of courage, 
the strength to face the gauntlets 
only you can name, 
and the firmness in your heart to know 
that you (yes, you!) can be a bearer of the quiet dignity 
that is the human glorified.
I would (if by my intention I could make it happen) 
have for you the gift of connection, 
the sense of standing on the hinge of time, 
touching past and future 
standing with certainty that you (yes, you!) 
are the point where it all comes together.
I would (if wishing could make it so) 
have for you the gift of community, 
a nucleus of love and challenge, 
to convince you in your soul 
that you (yes, you!) are a source of light 
in a world too long believing in the dark.
Not gold, nor myrrh, nor even frankincense, 
would I have for you this season, 
but simple gifts, the ones that are hardest to find, 
the ones that are perfect, 
even for those who have everything (if such there be).

No comments:

Post a Comment