Merry Christmas

Today we feature two poems.
MaryAnn writes:
“Last December I decided to
write a series of poems inspired by beloved Advent and Christmas hymns. It was
a great spiritual discipline for me in the midst of the busyness of the season.
I remember sitting with a cup of cocoa and the Presbyterian Hymnal, reading carefully the hymns that we (ok, I)
often sing without absorbing the words. The images are a rich treasure for the
spiritual and poetic imagination.”

May Christ be born anew in you
this Christmastide!

inspired by “The First Noel”

they looked up,
and saw a star shining

in the east

beyond them


it hung fat in the

and taunted them
for days.

when they moved,
it slid alongside,

when they stopped
and turned, it halted too

and winked like an



in its message: approach.



in their response:
buzz off,

swatting it;


but a few sighed:

all right.

we’ll go that way,

just to get you

off our backs.

so they turned,
faced off with the light,

and walked a
lingering day and night,

but the further
they traveled, the more the beckoning star

remained far,

far beyond them.

inspired by “It Came Upon the Midnight Clear,”
verse 2

the heavenly music
floats high, high enough

to catch sunlight,

its pure white

distant through
naked trees—

puffed and fat
with trumpets,

or combed into
pianissimo wisps.

and it came to

that the weary
world reached up,

snagged the misty

clutched them

until puffs of
angel song

pooled in the
valleys of chill,

got tangled in
gnarled branches

making the weary

a suburb sublime.

you couldn’t see
the fog all around you

but you knew you
must be in it

because it rested
like a lead apron, a comfort

as you gulped down
each damp chord

thinking yes, this is what we begged for.

MaryAnn McKibben Dana is a minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA). She is a 2003 graduate of Columbia Theological Seminary in Dacatur, GA and now serves a church outside Washington DC as associate pastor. A poet and writer, her work has appeared in Finding Calm
in the Chaos: Christian Devotions for Busy Women
, LiteraryMama, mamazine, and
the Journal for Preachers. She is currently writing a monthly column for
Presbyterians Today and is Christ and Creativity editor for Fidelia’s Sisters.
MaryAnn is married to Robert Dana and they have two daughters, Caroline and
Meg, with a newborn son, James. When she’s not fretting over how to handle three
children under the age of five, she likes to knit splendidly imperfect and
misshapen projects.

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