Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Incarnation Compared to this Winter Day

These snowy and chilling December days may be perfect for pondering Advent and Christmas realities. I say that because our Prioress, S. Nancy Bauer, wrote a poetic piece in December 2009 for her Christmas homily. It captured the Incarnation and wintry connections cleverly and playfully. Here are a few of my favorite stanzas.

The Incarnation Compared to this Winter Day

by Nancy Bauer, OSB

Gabriel comes like frost on the kitchen window
Etching God’s designs on the young woman’s heart.
Mary lifts a finger to brush the feathered strokes away.
Looks the stranger in the eye and utters her “OK.”

At the appointed time,
The child drifts down from Heaven,
A single silent snowflake,
Glistening, gleaming, glittering.
A crystal landing in the straw,
Revealing the shimmering face of God.

Angels come like blizzards,
Swirling, twirling, announcing;
Telling shepherds not to be afraid
But who wouldn’t be afraid
When flying creatures hover, lighting up the fields,
Scaring the sheep, disturbing the sleep,
And carrying on about a baby in a manger?

The shepherds set out in haste anyway,
Bent against the sleet,
Showing up at the stable smelling of wet wool,
Icicles dangling from eyes and nostrils,
Mumbling, murmuring, muttering, uttering discontent.
They gaze and are amazed.
These first evangelists.

Today again, Christ sweeps in like snow,
Wrapping the world in swaddling clothes.
Gladdening, maddening,
Stopping us in our tracks
When we have important places to go.

And we, like children,
Play in his radiance,
Romping, stomping, chasing,
Flopping down, flapping our useless wings,
To make more angels
So the glad tidings can be heard
Over and over and everywhere. Amen.
photo: taken at the monastery during winter 2009 by Nancy Bauer, OSB

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