Made Flesh

When we think of God, and
angels, and The Angel,
we suppose ineffable light.

So there is surprise in the air
when we see him bring to Mary,
in her lit room, a gift of darkness.

From “The Overshadow”
Accompanied by Angels

According to Luke 1:35, the mystery of the incarnation happened in shade, and every year I come back to this weaving of words by Luci Shaw for an adjustment to my perspective on the season of so much light and love.  “Made flesh” (A Widening Light, pg. 31) carries that unexpected image of shadow from Mary, in her “lit room,” to her Son, who was “eclipsed in amniotic gloom” as part of the journey of taking on a body.

In her poem, Luci Shaw has captured the enormity of the incarnation as a meeting of worlds — which is then quickly diminished to nine months of silence and a barn-birth-introduction to the “taste of bitter earth.”  Ironically, Christ’s deliberate hunkering down and wizening up set in motion a chain of events that ultimately enlarges the boundaries of those who believingly follow Him.

“Now I in him surrender
to the crush and cry of birth.
Because eternity
was closeted in time
he is my open door
to forever.
From his imprisonment my freedoms grow,
find wings.
Part of his body, I transcend this flesh.
From his sweet silence my mouth sings.
Out of his dark, I glow.”

Like apogee and perigee, image and reflection, Christ’s monumental diminishment – related to his birth as a human – ushered in the possibility of another birth for his beloved, followed by a new life that is both qualitatively and quantitatively transcendent.

Christ’s “open door to forever” redeems the throttling of flesh and time for humanity, which is tremendous theological truth to delight in over a cup of Christmas tea.  However, today, what matters most to me is that the claustrophobia of the never-ending December do-list, the frenzy of decking the halls and making merry are no more — and no less! — than 21st-century versions of Bethlehem straw.

My celebration of Advent is made sweeter with the confirmation that what happened in Mary’s tiny room truly was a meeting of worlds which “fused heaven with dark earth.”  God-light shines through my petty particulars, and the Word can become flesh again through my life and in my deeds.  Although tethered, for now, to this planet with all its weighty tasks and unmet expectations, I find that Advent is the flashpoint where I recall that I will one day, “join hands with heaven.”

//

In A Widening Light, Luci Shaw has curated a collection of over one hundred poems authored by a variety of Christian authors.  She follows the incarnation of Christ through his miraculous arrival in a small, occupied nation two thousand years ago and into his ministry and miracles, his brutal death, and his victorious rising, “green again,” a “fruited tree.”  If this were where the anthology ended, it would be brilliant enough, but the light widens, casting its glow on the Body as we find that out of his dark, we glow with “searing, sharply-focused light,” illumining the darkness and turning eyes and hearts toward another world.

//

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Published by

Michele Morin

I am a teacher, blogger, reader, and gardener who finds joy in sitting at a table surrounded by women with open Bibles. I have been married to an unreasonably patient husband for nearly 27 years, and our four children are growing up at an alarming rate. Nonetheless, two teens still remain at home, and along with an incorrigible St. Bernard, we laugh, make messes, clean them up, and then start all over again. I love hot tea and well-crafted sentences, poems that stop me in my tracks and days at the ocean with the whole family. I lament biblical illiteracy and advocate for the prudent use of "little minutes." I blog at Living Our Days because "the way I live my days will be, after all, the way I live my life." You can connect with me on Facebook or Twitter.

13 thoughts on “Made Flesh”

  1. Wow! I still have not gotten hold of a Luci Shaw book yet, but again, you make me want to do so!

    I love visiting your site, Michele, because you are always discussing something I haven’t come across yet. Have a wonderful rest-of-the-week.

    Like

    1. Who could resist a Luci Shaw link-up? She’s been mentoring me from the pages of her books for over twenty years. Thanks for your encouragement — and for persevering with the pesky technical aspects of the project!

      Like

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