Month: December 2021

Changed by what they had seen

Knitivity, a knitted crib by Mary Smith (Aunty Mary), now sharing in the real crib of heaven.
Photographed by Piers Northam.

The Shepherds witness to the birth of Jesus
A poem meditation from my friend Joyce Smith

The shepherds returned,
glorifying and praising God
for all they had heard and seen. Luke 2:20

The angels.
The stable.
The manger.
The baby.
The Son of God.

They glorified God,
for all they had seen.

could not do justice
to what they had

It was the
light in their eyes,
the excitement
in their voices,
the energy
in their steps,
and the new found
purpose in their lives,
which witnessed
to all they had seen.

Joyce Smith

Love comes Himself


A Star

Announces the Light
which has come into the world;
The Light of Truth.
The Light of Love,
which coming into our world
of darkness cannot be extinguished.
It is a Candle flickering in the wind of the night,
and the darkness cannot destroy it.
Its constant flame is our guide.
It is the Light which attracts
all people of Truth,
all people of Love

In humility
we bow low to the Light,
full of wonder;
and marvel at the power of so simple a thing
which overpowers and transforms everything.
and the light, entering our hearts, shines in us,
and the dark world is subdued.

Rejoice, Love has come into the world
for Love does not send another,


[Mr G December 1973 revised 2005]

Photo: Outdoor Crib at Bethlem Chapel, Prague
Photo taken by Gill Henwood

Baby Jesus and the Fox

Christmas Day fox. Latton Foxes Series photo by The Revd Lynn Hurry

My friend Lynn sent me a couple of photos of one of the fox cubs in Latton Vicarage Garden.
A few of them are still there though have grown quite a bit since we last saw them here.
Lynn also sent me a poem she found online called Baby Jesus and the Fox.
It was written by Stephanie and was first published on her blogsite Books are Cool on December 4th 2011. Please visit her blog for other writings by her.

The fox stood at the top of the hill
In the freezing snow, so deep and still.
Then he began to travel down,
Something was calling him into town.

Normally he stayed well clear
But tonight he overcame his fear.
He knew exactly where to go
So he crept through the shadows, keeping low.

He found the stable fairly soon
And hid in a corner, in the gloom.
He watched with glowing amber eyes
And heard a tiny baby’s cries.

Soon Mary and Joseph fell asleep.
Now was the fox’s chance to peep!
He cautiously left his hiding place
And gazed at Baby Jesus’s face.

A chilly wind began to blow
Bringing another flurry of snow.
The cold made the fox’s whiskers quiver
And Baby Jesus began to shiver.

And so without a thought of danger
The fox jumped up into the manger.
He laid his golden, bushy tail
Over the baby, cold and pale.

The fox lay there for quite a while
Till Jesus warmed up, and began to smile.
He tickled the fox’s furry head,
Then surprised him when he suddenly said:

“Both you and I will be hunted down,
Your fate hounds’ teeth, mine a thorny crown.
Men hate us though we do no wrong,
And hatred is cruel, fierce and strong,

But love, like the love you’ve just shown me,
Will save us all eventually.”
Then Baby Jesus began to doze,
Still gently stroking the fox’s nose.

The pink of dawn began to glow.
The fox knew that he had to go.
He was puzzled by the baby’s words
But he knew it was goodness that he’d heard.

He quietly got up and slunk away,
To struggle through another day.
But when he got back to his wood
He found a pile of tempting food –

Bread and cheese, and meat and fish,
Everything a fox could wish!
As he ate he smiled in a foxy way:
Today was a truly magical day.

Another photo by Lynn of the Latton Cub.

Stoops heaven to earth

From Joyce Smith, another photo tweet.

My friend Joyce’s latest photo Tweet takes, as its theme, the soaring flight over the earth which symbolizes the coming of the Christ-Child in the birth of Jesus to Mary and Joseph. 
Joyce chooses the caption which takes up this theme ; –

This Holy Night heaven reached down to earth.

The stooping down of God to embrace earth and all creation with His saving Love has an echo in those moments in a faith journey where we encounter heaven opening and sense God’s presence so keenly that it takes our breath away and for a time we feel drawn into God’s embrace. These are our thin moments when the membrane that separates earth from heaven is so thin that we could be in either place.
As indeed we are, and far more than we realize.  God is very near but unless we are still, it is easy to miss Him. A bit like the Whisky Priest in Graham Greene’s novel, The Power and the Glory who “missed happiness by seconds at the appointed place.”

All but a few shepherds and animals missed God’s coming at the appointed place of Bethlehem in the stillness of the Night.. As the writer of the Book of Wisdom in the Old Testament put it in the beautiful words in Chapter 18:

When all things were in quiet silence
and the night was in the midst of her swift course,
Down from the heavens, from your Royal throne,
leapt your all-powerful Word.     

 Being attentive to God’s coming to us in our lives means watching and hoping with real expectancy that He will indeed Come.
And whilst we might not always meet Him at the appointed place, that is not the final moment or place. God is always waiting and creating new thin places of meeting, each Christmas being an absolute certainty of that truth.

For reasons we hardly can fathom, He has this ‘thing’ about touching us with the love and joy pouring constantly from His heart. In Jesus He shows us just what that means.

So with the 17th century Poet, Richard Crawshaw in his poem, In the Holy Nativity of God, let us gratefully say :

Welcome, all wonders in one sight!
Eternity shut in a span;
Summer in winter, day in night’
Heaven in earth and God in man.
Great little one, whose all-embracing birth
Lifts earth to heaven
Stoops heaven to earth.

[Mr. G]