I can’t be the only one planning carol services already, can I? I hate the fact that Christmas creeps in early, but in a fit or organisation (and knowing that I’ll be out of action for some of November having my tonsils taken out) I scheduled the planning meeting for the village carol service for 17th October. All of which meant that I was in a Christmassy mood as I waited at the level crossing, and found myself starting to write a Christmas poem.
I’ve never written a Christmas poem before, so be nice to it, even if it’s pants.
(In case it’s not blindingly obvious, it’s based on the additional collect for Christmas day).
In the visions of prophets since time began,
and long before God’s loving plan
was brought to birth
there has been talk of a glorious moment
when heaven would touch the dark and long-estranged earth.
In a half-made family,
and in a young girl’s womb
those ancient words began to be
in flesh and skin and bone unfurled;
and as the babe was born
so heaven stooped
to touch a fallen world.
Amongst the cows and camels
in a shed behind the inn,
the world’s true light
opened his eyes to a world of sin.
And yet he saw as his first sight
the love of a mother,
and heaven touched earth for each of them
in one another.
On a darkened hilltop
angels came to sing
to fearful shepherds and startled sheep
of a boy-king, the dayspring
from on High.
They came and saw the child,
and in him, all their hopes fulfilled
as the baby slept to a lullaby.
And in the tiny shoot that sprang from Jesse’s stem
heaven touched earth
A star high in the Persian sky was gleaming
to guide the long, long journey of the sages,
whose gifts were heavy with meaning;
Heaven touched earth in them,
and showed for all the ages
that there was no place or time
where heaven’s light could fail to shine.
And through the endless years of history
heaven has touched the hearts of young and old alike,
of all who long to enter in its mystery;
In suffering and joy we glimpse this hope
that nothing in the cosmos can destroy,
for there is no force in the universe
that can prevent heaven from touching earth.
Tonight we may arrive with burdens,
cares, and fears, and guilt;
And what of all those things for which we strive so hard?
we bring them to the stable yard,
or even lay them at the manger.
So let us join with choirs of unseen angels
and raise our voice
to cry for peace
goodwill to men,
and for God’s heaven to touch his earth again.