Poems for Advent by Virginia M. Kimball




Dark to... Light
End Beginning
Escape to Egypt
Mother's Walk
Coming of the Timeless
Nativity of the Creator
Meditation of the Darkness
In the Stars
Truth of Love
Advent's Tidal Chart
Advent of Becoming
Get Ready
His Mother and Ours
Human and Divine
A Lonely God
Greeting of the Angel
Life Is Born
Labor and Delivery
Who Is This King
Sister of Moses/Anna's Daughter


Dark to... Light

darkness falls upon frosted lives
cataracts of doubt, loss and fear
days of brightness starkly shortened
as earth tilting spurns sun’s life’s rays
(Romans once praised this equinox
their god of nature fooled again
mere gifts lifted of meat and grain
without love, without a premise
like God’s plan) in lengthening days
one brilliant star, clutched by wise men
daring to foil Herod, death near,
our tender God suffers birth and lies
cradled in tears before our eyes

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End Beginning

Days getting shorter
much darker
walking knees ache
words wrought with
throbbing wrists
cold, damp wind
making “never”
disappear into
night, and soon
Light will come
before forever.

Advent turning round
loneliness
woven with doubt
but stitched on
surprised awe
night sky a dome
like the first …
tiny lights signal
million miles
beyond now
and God bound.

Closed days gone silent
memories
watch sole woman
secluded
in hope worn
wrapped veil uncovered,
young womb probed
Spirit the sperm
ovary cell stung
with life’s spark
triumphant.

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Escape to Egypt

Stone grey walls dyed red in infant blood –
choking dust cloaked, dead smell on her back –
Joseph’s firm strong hand grasps her pale fear –
farewell tears swell and Anna’s fires left –
into dark desert in cold hiding
from man’s hate and hurt, so just riding
and riding through sand, then sun scorching –
yet to a strange land, journey bereft
of rest throughout night, thirsting so near
when delta in sight, dodging attack –
tiny child breast hidden, cuddled eyes nod –
Matthew’s lines written … this WAS our God.

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 Mother's Walk

Long days ago I held tight my daughter’s hand
walking …
to a place I didn’t want to go:
big yellow bus promised but scary
my first child stepping on so wary
to life’s first place away from my heart
tearing away…
leaving me tears as I stand.

Middle school came with teachers we didn’t know
watching …
meeting the world’s selfish ways knowing
and wondering sadly at home, scarcely
to see time marching on so fiercely
into abandonment, anger, loss
screaming panic …
under my fake smile, just a show.

Years gone now, mother-daughter covenant ripped
waiting …
for new space, a fresh journey started
turning away that first walk so wrong
healing resolve let go in a song
day by day hope born to hold
yearning more …
abiding tender love stripped.

***

Chaos reigned, Creator thrust water’s death
speaking …
life’s image into man and woman
with minds and will, knowing place given
would wend them away, torn from his hand
leaving scars, love rejected, world’s lure
suffocating …
the flowing free of God’s breath.

***

Yet His young mother gently grasps my hand now
leading …
to her Son steadily showing how
love still bears, world smothering that Child,
God’s tears constant, like all mothers piled
with grief, but hope birthing from sorrow
raining …
newness an enduring love endows.

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Coming of the Timeless

God said to Moses, “I Am Who I Am.” God said more: “Thus you shall say to the Israelites, ‘I Am has sent me to you.’ ”[Exodus 3:14]

יהוה … four Hebrew letters, touch them, hold them for all that matters
the verb “to be’” is never first, or last but before the past, past passed,
moments past, present, future that will never pass, realm beyond time
squashed, conflated, merged, invented when God spoke to Moses
the first savior, drawn from water, drawing people through water
drawing God’s water from a rock and yet we mock
Being! Power! Essence! Existence! Life’s steam!
life from water, life from earth, cosmic birth
Light! Breath! Unpronounceable but Elohim.
Beyond, Unknowable speaks a Son, Word!
vast, here, now, and to come, forever,
bursting forth, in dark expanse
Creator in profound darkness
deep mystery’s starkness
gently came, cradled
in a mother’s arms
[humanity stabled
in time from harm]
nursed, suckling
at breast
YHWH
in cave’s
feeding
manger
rests.

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Nativity of the Creator

From Mary’s dark, warm womb
a newborn son emerged
tiny with opened eyes gazing
discovering a strange small world
Timeless God gulping His first breath
who loved creation into sight
streamed life on this planet’s old crust
thrusted day upon that first night
now riding tides of woman’s pain
He arrives like Noah’s boat had surged
into time, and place, skies blazing
brand new creation birthed, unfurled
in an infant’s challenge of death
only now to suckle a breast
Author of Life nuzzling, then kissed
slept -- dreaming of leaving a tomb

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Meditation of the Darkness

This night the dark cold grips me
with an icy, internal fear,
moon’s light gleaming on frozen
snow, glancing eery beauty
in stolen silence, darkness a hidden
vicious animal who lurks in shadows,
as little Chewy pulls the leash
along our last freedom walk
before sleep, straining to smell
at least one foot track of wild
stamped blind to my eye –
his excitement fleeting in
eternity, my sense sealed
in the thought of death
inevitable and revealed.

As guard, I flash my light
sweeping from ice bank
to ice bank, battery light
that bumps the frozen steel
of this night’s frigid keel.
My dead lie silent in their graves,
a stark still that stalks beloved lives
who once were breathing free.
That same future waits for me
patiently laughing at my
feeble stumble into despair.

Tugging, almost choking
on his collar, puppy rushes
up icy stairs into a human
warmth at my hearth and home.
Night vanishes for him,
but my absolute chill sensed
in the clear winter night
… remains. The only comfort
to the challenge of that knife
of cold, haunting lifelessness
in the garden’s icy profile,
is uttered in a gulp of prayer,
harboring one hope at best.
But then there’s my dogwood tree,
branches bent with ice’s stress.
How did I not notice, and even see
those funny little buds chilled
but waiting for nature’s own
metamorphosis? Buried
in the grey cold of my scary
reflection on death’s eventual
time, God spoke one tiny
word in my heart, a metaphor
revealing a saving paradox …
life does flow in darkness,
in stealth and clever like a fox,
rosy glow beats forgotten in my heart,
like Spring embalmed in wintry trees,
light lengthens in sun’s absence,
while life’s winter is but a penitence,
and now, in the time of deep freeze…
death is dissolved on prayer’s knees.

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In the Stars

We have seen his star at its rising,
and have come to pay him homage. (Matthew 2:2)

Beyond there is beyond
further than Hubble sees
cosmic colliding matter
expansion on and on …
black holes hording
collapsed atoms storing
leaking strange energy
unseen, unknown, yet free
dark matter filling space
present everywhere
without a trace
and yet supernovas explode
stars live lives and die
fathoms of darkness abide –
and we search for God
“where are you God?”
and we plead “why?”

When I look at your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars
that you established –
what are human beings that you are
mindful of them,
mortals that you will visit them? (Psalm 8:3-4)

One woman trusted El
the One she loved and will
embrace as bride not wedded
singing, now begging she pled
finding her son in the psalms
- stars in the sky quelling qualms –
“God so far away”
“God coming to stay”

Sing praises to God, sing praises;
sing praises to our King, sing praises.
For God is the king of all the earth;
sing praises with a psalm. (Psalm 47:6)

Treasures in the psalms kept
clutched, pondering “why?”
and with joy she wept!

She treasured all this in her heart (Luke 51)

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Truth of Love

infant Christ searched her eyes
smile erupting with dimple and all
charming his mother’s gaze
like all sons steal the waiting heart
squirming for a sudden hug
small kiss upon his head
honest sweetness captured
wrapped in tenderness
He flirts innocently for care
Cosmic Creator hiding as a child
searching for real embrace
– affection unadulterated
by needy intentions …
a snuggle for covenant
by an Almighty One
creating woman in likeness of a babe
Who loves and is Love
upon her breast and in the warmth
of a human hold
and on a night long ago
and cold
No wonder we seek true love:
made to seek and give
like the One
above.

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Advent's Tidal Chart

tides spilling life
inevitable
swelling, rolling, lapping
waves encroaching
white foam spews approaching
moon pulling unseen force
nature’s design follows course

More majestic than the thunders of mighty waters,
majestic are the waves of the sea,
majestic on high is the LORD! (Psalm 93:4)

beneath the pull
above breaking crests
speaks a silent power
voices spoke then
hearing your promise
lamenting, singing, all
pointing hope after the Fall.

Uphold me according to your promise, that I may live,
and let me not be put to shame in my hope. (Psalm 119:116)

humanity waits
days flow upon days
months, long years, centuries
prophets hoping
young womb opening
with Spirit invisible
implanting a miracle.

You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea …
as you have sworn to our ancestors
from the days of old. (Micah 7:19-20)

Mary trusted
pleading arms opened
allowing Yahweh instead
to pour upon
her being’s white beach
a swell of life extending
God’s presence within our reach.

Look, the young woman is with child
and shall bear a son, and shall name him
Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14)

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Advent of Becoming

For these things I weep; my eyes flow with tears;
for a comforter is far from me,
one to revive my courage;
my children are desolate, for the enemy has prevailed.
Lamentations 1:16

God meets hurting earth and a Child is born;
what does this mean for a world sorely torn?
What can Holy One up there be thinking?
Daily tremendous sorrows and pain borne,
our stated hope in God – is it shrinking?
Are we relishing in being forlorn?
Unknowable, untouchable Great One
existing, invisible, there somewhere?
And yet we complain; we can hardly bear.
Time, location seems absurd, yet coming?
Coming when? Arriving where, with eyes gone?
Here is Advent, upon us, time of reckoning
… Pausing for new life that seems beckoning.

Bundled, vulnerable in cold desert morn;
that woman’s body unwraps glory born.
El - Holy One of timelessness, synching
vast galaxies, bound in a twinkling
to Essence, Power, and Design so clear;
life once trundled and desperate - unclear
to those with stuffed hearts blinding,
with minds foiled by self concern
instead here is God once spurned
opening eyes to eternity yearned!

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 Get Ready

Prepare to meet your God, O Israel!
Amos 4: 12

Staring mortality in the face,
we climb Advent with summer spent –
days breathing in winter’s race
transforming life to solemn Lent.

Clinging to fragile pulse of joy:
rip off our face cosmetic sealed,
cast off the thirst for sweet and toys!
Pull onward to the Light revealed

Stuff our mouth with words of prayer
reminding God our love is there
begging like Mary to prepare.
“Holy is your name!” Come impart
our aging flesh and hope-less mind
with soft glory to those so blind
in a tiny bread tenderly raised,
cultured warm in Mary’s praise.

Walking, walking holy days
to Heaven from our earth’s tomb.
Forgive, little Child, forget our greed,
help us to meet those truly in need.

… tiptoeing down stairs on Christmas morn,
hard days forgotten and joy is born.

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His Mother and Ours

Looking in those baby’s eyes -
gateways to vast, deep wells
of love and recognition
connecting you , mother of creation,
with the forgiving and silent One,
entrusting you with a dear little child –
divinity dwelling for just a while
in your warm arms, searching your breast,
unaware yet of pain and greed, test
to come elusive, so closed eyes rest.

Opening now … bright infant eyes
fix on you, awake, sensing to realize
no fading attention,
no hint of rejection,
and now we look too,
wanting to know you …
when Noel’s bells ring,
we can gladly sing
remembering, oh yes, recalling
your birth gift enthralling:
a mother’s care
a tie for us,
a messiah,
our future,
our life,
our nurture.

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 Human and Divine

squirming, pulling from her arms,
chubby hands stretch to reach the floor
giggling, rolling from his mother’s grip,
she grins as short legs wiggle and crawl away

angels sing upon this toddler’s charms
unheard, unseen as he crawls to the door
pulling, toddling – but fearing he’ll slip
mother hustles to him saying … “not today!”

tantrum erupts, a wail to “put me down”
kicking now he flails, on mother’s hip
she holds him firm, persisting calm
adventure interrupted, first steps at bay

“Creator of the Universe” waiting until he’s grown,
“In him all comes to be” with curled lip,
then crying stops, “Almighty” clasps her palm …
“Amazing Grace” snuggles to her breast to play.

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 A Lonely God

Hear, O heavens, and listen O earth,
for the LORD has spoken:
I reared children and brought them up,
but they have rebelled against me.
Isaiah 1:2

rejected, forlorn … spurned,
loving without return
pining, waiting … planning
while ages passed …banning
closeness. Union soon seeded,
a lover’s risk … until
in a virgin’s womb, pledge deeded,
“yes” to Yahweh’s gentle will
threaded with faith plunged
dangerously for Him, a thrill!
together, lovers, a void expunged:
the simple girl made woman
sewing us with God, she births
a wee life in dark and can
bring soft smiles upon God’s face,
at last loved and held in human embrace.

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Greeting of the Angel

And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favored one!
The Lord is with you.” (Luke 1:29)

Gabriel then uttered
“ke-[c]haritoo-mene”
a biblical greeting
“Hail, Mary, full of grace”
“Rejoice, woman dwelling in God’s place

Unpronounceable, Luke!
Greek foreign to our ears
deeply found wisdom contained
participle of eternity
telling all in a phrase

ke
past tense continuing
having been inspired and yet
she is found in mystic state
her trust remaining in El
still persevering in faith

charitoo
mankind’s loneliness rebuked
this word ”charis” root of love -
Love as joy retained
God’s sweet nature shared
cherished by believing Mary

mene
as young prophetess pines
remaining, staying, dwelling
clinging fast to hope
studying truth day and night
blessed and holy (Psalm 1)

her holiness filled
her fear stilled
Rejoice, Mary, you remain with Yahweh,
God’s son, your son, will come to stay!

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 Life Is Born

days upon weeks upon months
with early weeks in nausea
middle time in rounded glow
nearing birth with heavy load …
like the moment of death’s guise
and then always: a surprise –
new breathing, new voice emerges
eyes squinting, white with vernix
vulnerable and small, tiny blinks,
cut from cord’s lifeline and all
nourishment sucked at mother’s breast
dependent for existence
and yet born for repentance
crying in her arms, no rest
through cold desert night, destined
to survive with insistence
despite all human resistance
to be Being, given love
and being Love from above,
cuddled, stroked, kissed with a nod:
burst of life who is our God.

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 Labor and Delivery

deep in obscurity in a human organ
quiet, unknown in soft, tissue space of flesh
in the silence of God’s creative hand … can
this miracle of life, mystery copulating
humanity with Un-seeable One, pulsing cells
forming the Un-formable and nourishing
in the fresh blood of a woman – though unclean
like death but pure and holy as life wells:
mitosis powered by unfathomed Power
who designed a vast expanding universe,
Hand hiding in galaxy’s center of black,
dwarfing nuclear reactions like the hell
yet flowing and growing in a female warmth,
hormones nudging breast’s milk, fetus only felt,
until the day of light when wee Creator
nudges His way through contracting birth canal,
gasping first breath, air burning His tiny lungs,
in chaos Breath-over-waters labored free,
a baby to boy to man and savior be …
life delivered to a hurting world, to see
in this painful birthing an eternity.

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Who Is This King

What mother holds her infant son
and doesn’t see a brand new king?
This virgin’s babe appears upon
her lap, holy reign appearing.

Cuddled in her warm protection
sweet voice of angels start to ring,
light rays slicing darkness broken
with news that only Heaven brings.

Trudging slowly through desert far
Persian leaders of wisdom left
following paths of that bright star,
to find some Romans in a rift.

A simple mother with her care
nursing a people far bereft,
hidden there in a cave’s dark lair,
discovers signs that must be kept.

On offering their gifts of gold,
some frankincense, and precious myrrh (Matthew 2:11),
knelt kindly kings in winter cold,
stunned by this wee baby’s Power!

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 Sister of Moses/Anna's Daughter

Sister of Moses and Aaron

Miryam lies buried in the desert of Zin
her song and timbrel silenced and dim …

List’ning to her heart she knew God’s will
Brother too shy yet remembered still …

Pharoah’s fierce charge with hundreds of men
thwarted by prayer and song of women …

Dance all women, chant, sing on those frets !
Dance in freedom, for some will forget …

Then the prophet Miriam, Aaron’s sister,
Took a tambourine in her hand [Exodus 15: 20]
Sing to the LORD, for he has triumphed gloriously;
Horse and rider he has thrown into the sea. [Exodus 15:21]
The LORD is my strength and my might,
and he has become my salvation;
this is my God, and I will praise him [Exodus 15:2]

Anna's daughter

Up Zion’s hill in steps of ascent danced the child
those brisk skips tickling an old man’s smile …
Like the image of Hannah who cried for a while
convincing God in her female trial …

Almost forgotten in quiet hills of Judah
Anna recalled a dear name with awe …
God chose Mary with a name of significance
ancient ways to show such a joy of remembrance …
My soul magnifies the LORD, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
For he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.
[Mary’s Magnificat, Luke 1:47-48]

Young brave girl named Mary sings at Nazareth’s a well -
mankind clasps God’s waiting hand to splash away hell,
she clings to The One, embracing El,
new Exodus that prophets foretell.

Who is like the LORD our God, who is seated on high,
who looks far down on the heavens and the earth?
He raises the poor from the dust,
and lifts the needy from the ash heap. [Psalm 113: 5-7]

He raises up the poor from the dust;
He lifts the needy from the ash heap,
to make them sit with princes
and inherit a seat of honor. [Hannah’s song in I Samuel 2: 8]

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