Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Advent 3: Joy {Elisabeth}

"The Lord has done this for me. He has looked with favor in these days to take away my disgrace among the people" (Luke 1:25, HCSB).

An angel's good news beggars the priest's belief

A seed of joy, sown by an expired prayer,
Takes root in his aged bride's shriveled womb,
Flutters, kicks new life into dead hopes.
Fruit of the promise swells, burgeons,
Tautens the walls of empty longing
With outlandish hope.

God sends a son called Grace*--
A son for Elisabeth--
Grace for her disgrace,
Favor for her shame,
Joy for her sorrow,
But grace upon grace:

Her Grace-child jumps for joy,
Joy dancing in her barren places.
Mute joy-leaps hail the Author of joy,
And the mother of Grace meets the mother of her Lord.

Grace rejoices in the coming
Of the Grace-giver Himself,
As near and as far
As the embrace of two unexpectedly expectant mothers
(One too soon, one too late, both in good time)
Rejoicing together in good news
Of the promise coming,
So near they can feel it kick.

*The name "John" is a variant of the Hebrew for "Yahweh is gracious."



  1. Joy and Grace to you, friend! Love that final line—perfect ending to these wonderful words.

  2. I had no idea that John could also mean grace. Wow. That sheds even greater light on the beauty of John's mission.

    He continues to shed "grace upon grace" on me. Thank you for letting him use you to do it!

  3. OH I LOVE THIS!!!!! So very beautiful! Every word is perfectly chosen and speaks volumes. It's musical. So much insight. So many layers of meaning. :)

  4. I was uncertain of that line, so thank you for the feedback. Joy and grace back to you, dear one.

  5. Thank you, Lisa, for your generous words. I've learned so much from you (and added so many books to my to-read list) this year. More grace to you in Jesus.

  6. Thank you, gracious Anne. Love to you!

  7. Beautiful! I loved reading this :)

  8. Thank you so much, Jennifer. Adorable profile thumbnail! Grace and peace to you in Jesus this Advent season.

  9. I love the story of Elisabeth. God is so good. Thanks for sharing this moment of the Christmas story.

  10. so near they can feel it kick... this grace for her disgrace :) so many good lines in this friend. thank you.

  11. interesting that you were uncertain about the last line, when three people (counting myself) found it arresting enough to comment on! i think the writer of a poem can get the reader to better attend to what is being said in two very different ways. one is to use turns of phrase that are artfully constructed--for example, in putting together things that aren't normally together ("expired prayer") or even seem opposed to each other, ("unexpectedly expectant", "one too soon, one too late, both in good time"). another is to use turns of phrase that are "artfully unconstructed" and unusually direct or blunt ("stops his mouth", "so near they can feel it kick"). i like the way you engage your readers in both these ways in the same poem: as Emily says,so many good lines...

    i hope that, despite the pre-Christmas preparations, you are not pushing yourself too hard, and are getting plenty of restorative sleep. much love and many blessings--


  12. I love seeing this event from the point of view of unborn baby...lovely.

  13. My intention was Elisabeth's point of view, but you're exactly right that John's is present too. Thanks for showing me that. Blessed Advent to you!

  14. You are most welcome. That story has captured my heart in an unusual way this year, so I love it too. Thank you so much for coming by and your kind words. Blessed Advent to you!

  15. Thank *you,* Emily. Grace and Advent blessings to you, friend.

  16. Thank you for such thoughtful feedback! My uncertainty, I think, concerned the placement of the "blunt" expression. It occurs to me that the Old Testament prophets exemplify both techniques you describe; so do the metaphysical poets I admire, but the immediate influence would probably be the prophets. Thank you for the generous words.

    Perhaps I shall call you Uncle Chris instead of Professor Chris. (Smile.) Thank you for your kind concern. I am trying to respect the boundaries and not push too hard (not without missteps). Choices are tricky this time of year, but I am coming to terms with perhaps making poems instead of toffee, even if I risk the wrath of my non-crumble family members.

    Blessings and love (and gratitude) back to you-

  17. Your word choice in poetry is exquisite, my dear. You write in ways that I could not and it speaks to me in ways I can't quite express. The thing that struck me most here? The way Joy is the title and theme, yet Grace has the starring role. I am pondering this out, remembering that Grace really is the root of all the Joy. And "grace upon grace"? Never could better words express this: John born first, given the name meaning Grace. Jesus born soon after and He really is Grace Himself. Thank you for opening Truth to me yet again.

    And I've just posted the giveaway results on my blog...I think you *might* be excited to see them ;o).

    Grace, Hope, Joy to you, my Friend!


Thank you for sharing your day with me! Your presence here is a gift. *You* are a gift. Right now I am unable to reply to every comment, but please know I read and pray for each and every commenter. Grace and peace to you in Christ.