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Readings: “Religion in the Ribbons

"Christ is born! Alleluia!"
"Only ten shopping days until Christmas!"
We lament tying one to the other,
but this is not naked materialism.
There is religion in the ribbons.

A wintry night.
A tiny baby,
a cattle stall,
a bed in the hay,
two thousand years ago.
From hundreds of miles Kings come to present gifts
to the child of a pauper.
Shepherds, for whom birthing is part of the job,
stand in awe of the miracle of creation.
Something special here.

There is love in the mother's eyes,
wonder in the faces of the magi,
celebration in the star-studded sky,
hope in the hearts of the shepherds.

The shopping frenzy is not without heart.
Toys celebrate children.
People don't load up with gifts for others
because they have to.
Presents hidden by lovely wrappings
are mysteries that
speak of love,
engender joy,
reaffirm family,
encourage giving.

Christmas decorations and holiday foods,
annual trips to the homestead,
memories of lifetimes together,
reflections of lives lived fully,
love for those present
and aching longing for those gone.

Time to pause and reflect.
There is sadness mixed with wonder and joy,
awareness of the passing years
when we marvel at how the kids have grown
and then realize that
time didn't stop for us either.

The infusion of divine soul in human flesh,
presented to us as a baby—
as every baby, everywhere, as long as babies will be born.

Why not celebrate with gifts and food and family?
Let the cash registers ring—
the sound of people in celebration
thinking of others.

"A baby is born. Alleluia!
Let the heavens sing, Alleluia!"
Let us celebrate!


Searching for the Spring: Poetic Reflections of Maine (c) 2005 by Ken Nye, published by TJMF Publishing.

Copyright: The author has given Unitarian Universalist Association member congregations permission to reprint this piece for use in public worship. Any reprints must acknowledge the name of the author.

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Last updated on Tuesday, February 26, 2013.

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