I know that I've talked about Ives' mystical vision before, but, on this Christmas day, I think focusing on an image of God's goodness in the world is appropriate. In Ives' vision, everyone and everything shimmers with peace and love and understanding. It's an experience that sticks with Ives for the rest of his life.
Last night, after the 11 p.m. candlelight church service, I came home and sat on the couch, watching the 24-hour marathon of A Christmas Story on TBS. Our kids were in bed. The Christmas wrapping was done. Christmas had arrived, and I felt a kind of pleasant exhaustion creep over me. The holiday race was over. Ready or not, Jesus had arrived.
I wish all of my disciples a wonderful and blessed Christmas, full of love and warmth and friendship. If you are alone this holiday, know that I have said a prayer for you this day. If you are struggling with your health or finances, know that God is with you. If you are simply a Scrooge, going out of your way to make other people miserable, know that your figgy pudding will soon curdle and your holly berries will fall off.
Below is my Christmas poem for this year. It's a little weird. One friend called it "Azimov-ian." I took it as a compliment.
Saint Marty is ready for a long winter's nap this evening, maybe with the help of a little Christmas cheer.
for everyone we love, Christmas 2015
He slouches through this night,
an eclipse of hair and muscle and foot,
guided by some wild nova
in the chambers of his Neanderthal
chest. It’s an ancient story,
Precambrian even, about ice,
juniper berry in the deadest of winter.
Digging through dermal frost
to root and worm. Mushroom
caps in frozen moss, strips
of pine gnawed into sweet paste.
And moon held in knuckles of sumac.
Yes, it’s about need and hunger,
a bottomless lake carved by glacier.
It’s wilderness, the blind
sound of nebulae exploding seventy
million miles a day. Ice Age. Meteor
rain. Seraphim screaming hosannas
over panicked rams. Starlight and manure.
The coming of Something
He knows all this somehow,
the way he knows where salmon leap, spawn.
He stands at the edge of a clearing,
stares up, into the hills, toward
an empty cave. He tilts back
his head, opens his throat, sings a song
for the evolution of love.