Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Can Hate Time Really Halt?

Amazing Peace: A Christmas Poem
by Maya Angelou
Advent is really fun in our household this year. S. is old enough to help with cooking and decorations and to participate in the Advent devotional activities that his cousins sent. The "Advent kit" is a craft foam tree that you decorate one piece at a time through the course of the season, and each day has a scripture reading and a prayer. It makes my heart hurt when S. folds his sticky, gluey hands and bows his head to do the short prayer listed in the devotional book. G. is not sure what it's all about, but is throwing himself into the joy of the season with his usual wild abandon. E. and I try hard to keep things on a somewhat even keel, planning quiet activities and sticking to routines as much as possible. But we can't help it, the joy of the season makes us a little bit giddy too.

I came across this poem in World Ark, the Heifer Project Magazine. I love Maya Angelou's work, and thought this excerpt from Amazing Peace: A Christmas Poem expressed beautifully what our fondest hopes and dreams for Christmas are. I share it with you now with hopes that peace really will be born in our hearts and in our world:

Into this climate of fear and apprehension, Christmas enters,
Streaming lights of joy, ringing bells of hope
And singing carols of forgiveness high up in the bright air.
The world is encouraged to come away from rancor,
Come the way of friendship.

It is the Glad Season.
Thunder ebbs to silence and lightning sleeps quietly in the corner.
Flood waters recede into memory.
Snow becomes a yielding cushion to aid us
As we make our way to higher ground.

Hope is born again in the faces of children
It rides on the shoulders of our aged as they walk into their sunsets.
Hope spreads around the earth. Brightening all things,
Even hate which crouches breeding in all corners.

In our joy, we think we hear a whisper.
At first it is too soft. Then only half heard.
We listen carefully as it gathers strength.
We hear a sweetness.
The word is peace.
It is louder now. It is louder.
Louder than the explosion of bombs.
We tremble at the sound. We are thrilled by its presence.
It is what we have hungered for.
Not just the absence of war. But, true peace.
A harmony of spirit, a comfort of courtesies.
Security for our beloveds and their beloveds.

We clap hands and welcome the peace of Christmas.
We beckon this good season to wait awhile with us.
We, Baptist and Buddhist, Methodist and Muslim, say come.
Come and fill us and our world with your majesty.
We, the Jew and the Jainist, the Catholic and the Confucian,
Implore you, to stay awhile with us.
So we may learn by your shimmering light
How to look beyond complexion and see community.

It is Christmas time, a halting of hate time.
Copyright 2005 by Maya Angelou

Beautiful, huh? Let it be so.

Reverent Reader


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