An Advent Poem

Hi Everyone!

My name is Chris Yokel, and I’m pleased to have become a new contributor to this Advent blog. I was introduced to it through Travis, whose Hog’s Head blog I regularly frequent–I’m the dark cloaked Aragorn figure nursing a butterbeer in the corner…..right.

Christmas has always been my favorite holiday, and not particularly because of the presents. I have always found myself captivated by the mystery of the season, the wonderful paradox of the Incarnation. Every year I find myself drawn to meditate upon this wonder again and again.

A few years ago, as part of my devotional experience for the Advent season, I decided that I wanted to retell the story of Christmas in a sort of epic form. I am a big fan and student of Tolkien and Lewis and their whole developed philosophy on myth and storytelling from a Christian theological standpoint. They believed that Christianity was the “True Myth” because it contained all the beautiful qualities of a great story, but unlike the other ancient mythologies, it actually entered into time and history, and in doing so showed us, in Tolkien’s words, “Joy beyond the walls of the world”.

So I resolved in my own small way to put the story of Jesus’ advent into an epic form, in the style of those great ancient poems Gilgamesh and Beowulf. I wanted to write, as the older term put it, a lay. Thus, part one of the Lay of the Lord was born. Since then it has spawned into a trilogy, whose parts include Birth, Life, and Death & Resurrection.

This Advent season I started reposting the parts of “Birth” onto my Facebook account for my friends to enjoy. I would like to share it with you in hopes that it might lend to your Advent reflections this season. I will post a new part of the poem every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday right through Christmas Day. Since I’ve already started, I am including two sections in this post. I hope that in some small way this work which started as my own attempt to wrap my head around the Incarnation will bless your own meditations this Advent season.

Without further ado, The Lay of the Lord: Birth….

Words From The Depths of Time

Words past,
stirring in the depths of time.
Like their father,
that ancient Spirit brooding over the void,
new beginnings emerge.

Let the visions of the seers take form;
let the long held hope awake;
like the piercing shafts of light over bleak lands cursed.
Let the salvation of men,
a man himself,
appear.

The Stirring Begins

Silently rustling down the heights of Hermon
tributary of that stream once divided for the children of promise.
Gliding along the banks of the north,
sweeping over hills again,
across the gently rippling Sea of Galilee,
gently stirring the sails of ships in Capernaum,
the invisible flame swept on.

Bethany, Pella, and Jabesh-Gilead,
Asophon, Taralah, and on to Gilgal.
Finally turning toward the great sea,
wafting up the foothills,
then the crags,
finally the mountains of Judea.
Upward to David’s seat
and the house of Yahweh.

There the incense rose in slow, enchanting clouds.
There the blood of lambs and bulls graced the purest of marbles.
There the humble priest,
all trembling,
bore the long repeated prayers into the vestibule of the Almighty:
“May the merciful God enter the Holy Place
and accept with favor the offering of His people.”
In swept that force, unseen yet felt,
as the old man gave a start, aware that heaven had brushed his robes.
And there, materializing in the wafting trail of smoke,
a man,
yet hardly could this common term be used for such a being,
so overawing was his presence.
Yet perhaps not so much as the words he spoke:
that as from cold, dead earth a flower might open,
so from a cold, dead womb a son would warmly leap,
and his rejoicing would be like the first birdsong before sunrise,
and as the moon to the sun is a light of second greatness,
so his shining forth would be only paled within the shadow cast by dawn.
Yet how slow to believe and stubborn
is even the heart of the righteous at times.
So for this stumbling Zechariah was struck dumb,
that by his lack of speech that word spoken by God might stand,
and so it came to be as Gabriel said.

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~ by thebardling on December 4, 2009.

5 Responses to “An Advent Poem”

  1. This is very good, Chris. I am edified 🙂

    Richard

  2. […] [MOD: This is part 4 of Chris' excellent poem. Read the whole thing in order: Part 1; Part 2; Part […]

  3. […] [MOD: This is part 3 of Chris' excellent poem. Read the whole thing in order: Part 1; Part […]

  4. […] “The Carpenter” [MOD: This is part 5 of Chris' excellent poem. Read it in order: Part 1; Part 2; Part 3 Part […]

  5. Hi, I write an Advent Blog (http://lineageofexpectation.blogspot.com/) every year and am really inspired by the work you do on this blog. Can I share some of your poems?

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