If you have come to dread the hectic pace of Christmas preparations and the collapse that follows— Hurry, hurry to make everything perfect for the 25th! And then, Boom! It's all over If you find the secular mythology of the perfect family Christmas— with all your kin in perfect accord, and peace reigning not only in the world but even in the household— more depressing than encouraging And if you have a vague sense that something better is possible, that Christmas may have something to say to real people living amid the real struggles of the world, then: I Invite you to prepare for Christmas in a different way this Advent.
I invite you to spend time with some short poems that may help you treat Christmas not as an exercise in denial but as an affirmation of hope and joy, even in the midst of the realities of human life. I invite you to find here a more rewarding path toward the celebration of Jesus' birth, one shaped not by commercial hype or secular myths but by reflection on the human condition and a deep hope rooted in the birth of the Child.
Nothing against the gifts and the feasting! These are important parts of the celebration.
The Advent season is filled with rich themes that have fascinated poets. In Run, Shepherds, Run, Bill Countryman presents a poem a day for devotional reading during Advent and the twelve days of Christmas. The Advent season is filled with rich themes that have fascinated poets. In Run, Shepherds, Run, Bill Countryman presents a poem a day for devotional reading.
But they are the means, not the end. The real purpose is to rejoice in God's generosity and the new hope made possible by this birth. Not all of us feel particularly comfortable or at home with poetry.
Here are a few suggestions that may make your reading more enjoyable and rewarding:. Read aloud , if you can. Part of what is wonderful about poetry is the sound. You can hear it a little bit inside your head, but it's always better read aloud. And sometimes, oddly enough, the poem reveals its sense more easily when you read it that way. Read it more than once. If it's a poem you've never read before, the first reading is often just a matter of figuring out what the words mean and how they're hooked together in sentences.
The second reading often gives a much better sense of the poem as a whole. Accept that you'll relate more easily to some poems than to others.
Nobody likes all poems equally. You'll probably find one day's selection more rewarding than another's. Keep with it! There is a mix of styles and levels of difficulty here.
The Meaning of Christmas Author Unknown Far away in Bethlehem, a baby boy was born, Born with neither riches, nor with fame, Yet wise men came from all around to bring Him their gifts, And peace was felt by all who heard His name. Seller Image. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger. Top Suggestions. There is no room here for such as you. As the start siren sounded, we soon found ourselves Overtaken by puddings and penguins and elves.
And you never know what will light up unexpectedly for you. Read with the punctuation more than the line endings. The sense often runs over from one line to the next. The punctuation is usually your best guide to units of meaning, such as phrases and clauses.
The line endings do sometimes make us hesitate just a bit. That's fine. Just don't take them too seriously.
Talk with somebody else about it , if you have the chance. Often the way another person reads the poem will be a little different, and sometimes that will spark new insights for you. With the older poems of this collection, I have taken some liberties in modernizing punctuation and spelling. I have left more recent poetry as I found it except that the publisher has chosen to substitute American spellings.
Advent" comes from a Latin word that means "coming" or "arrival," as when some great figure like the emperor arrived during a tour of the provinces.
The season of Advent, beginning four Sundays before Christmas, is a focused, reflective time of preparation for our celebration of the humble birth of Jesus at Bethlehem. It also reminds us that we await another coming of Jesus, a coming in majesty at the end of all things. The second coming fulfills the promise of the first. As the start siren sounded, we soon found ourselves Overtaken by puddings and penguins and elves.
And a few speedy folk in their plain running gear We hope that they might want to dress up next year! Dashing, dancing, faster than comets, A few with their hangovers trying not to vomit ; In our hot sweaty costumes, our pace was quite slack But we got a high five from Santa at the out and back. The cheers of the marshalls led us on to the prize That's a hot cup of tea and a couple of mince pies.
Over the finish line, our parkrun was done - Now Merry Christmas to all, and thanks for the run! This week there were runners, of whom 48 were first timers and 60 recorded new Personal Bests. Special mention to Barrington Mudd, another first timer at Moors Valley, who ran his th parkrun this week. Well done to them and to all who took part. As always, parkrun could not happen without an amazing bunch of volunteers. Huge thanks go to the festive team:. Why didn't Father Christmas get a parkrun result time? Because he forgot his bar co-ho-ho-de.
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