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and folded away in history
and now restless
the Word is nurturing a promise
made from grace
cast in peace
shaped by hope
and in human form

behind the stars, (now shifting)
and the story, (now revealing)
and skin, now stretching
the word has been quickening
in the womb:
a word with skin
in the borrowed space
of a handmaid
who dares
who dares…

and this
is all the word requires



A Blessing

In this beginning time
this primal flush of holy hope
may the first words in this new season of promise
be words
ready to travel with you
if you are prepared to let them
shape each step


Let them not grey their fulfilment
or dull their enthusiasm for light
but come alive on the path
to promise and expectation


may these birth-words invite each moment of ours
to be replayed and reborn
towards your future

words that fashion a neighbourhood
where incarnation and flesh
negotiate and come together in the lanes of the world


for there
and only there
can God be born

May such beginning words
begin in you


We interrupt you O God
as you prepare to fit into skin
and affirm what we hope
and proclaim what we believe
that love is human shaped
and one of us

In your hesitation in letting go
that which is dearest to you
we interrupt
to affirm that this cost to you
that love comes among us
is our salvation

In your wondering of what it feels like
to be limited in skin
we interrupt your worry
if a place will be found
that welcomes God
to affirm love in the flesh is worth the risk

We interrupt your last minutes nerves O God
worried that this promise made flesh
will live beyond stables and mangers
to affirm
only such love in human form
can redeem the world

And may we pause long enough
and wonder long enough
and hope long enough
for you to interrupt us
to disturb our tired imaginations
and affirm your intent in us once more

Silence the Words

Silence the words
let them fall
grasp the peace that is left
and listen

to the sound
of creation
her ancient song

feel the rush of air
from the breath
of the prophets

hush the worry of incarnation
and pause
in the hesitation
of God

touch the skin
of love
stretched across a child
now filling with light

and wait
just wait
without knowing

and may you hear
what wonder sounds like
in the corners of the world
where stars pause
and air stills
and secrets unfold
and skin tingles
as the word
into the world

Shepherd's Story

Imagine the aurora borealis
in gold.

Imagine an Aurelian curtain
slicing through the sky.

Imagine a cascade of glory
that turns fields and trees and faces
burnt amethyst and melted bronze.

Imagine the inside of your hopes
written across the heavens.

Imagine all the songs you’ve ever loved
played in harmony with each other.

Imagine all the instruments
in all the orchestras of the world
soaring together into a new melody.

Imagine all the poetry in the world
creating new words and worlds

Imagine all the colours of every moon-bow
dance together.

Just imagine,
because that is all we can do.

And if we can
even just a sliver of that
then maybe
we have a hint
of that shepherds-field
beyond that town
in the middle of the night
and what happened
within their hearts
in the middle of their lives
on hearing the angel chorus:
it feels like an explosion
of all that is beautiful

and such a joy sends you
into the darkest places
and least stable places
for just a paring of that good news
is enough to change your world.

Mary's Story

Inside me
God is curled
unable to breathe
or fend for self

but I can feel the weight of light
stirring in my soul
in this blessing

Such mystery
alive in me
by body feels the pulse of prophetic hope
yet fears the human vulnerability

for evolving within
is coiled the imagination
of all the prophets
who made a claim on the future

no longer
for the proud
and where the strong
will be made redundant

but is the now time
the time to live
for those who know
the emptiness of the world

so I am restless
awkward with God
quickening for the world
rehearsing the incarnation

and what word can I sing
other than all of them
ever spoken
that brought creation to birth

that spoke truth
and gave it life
that spoke promise
and celebrated the joy of its being

that spoke love
which now finds in me
an invitation
curled and growing

to shift the world
and begin here
in the ‘yes’
of all our hopes



Advent One Prayer

Loving God
may we find you in the out of the way places of Advent
those places where our thoughts rarely meander
those beginning moments rather than the end moments

May we wander into the promise-nursery
where the desire of hope
and the growing of longing
come together
and create a beginning place
long before stable
and child
and gifts
and incarnation
come to be

May we wander into the before moments
the dream places
where you spin a vision
a desire
to love us
in the flesh

love us fully
as one of us

love us
as love must
in the face to face
hand to hand
word to word
in the glory and the dust
the heat and the pain
of the humanity of us all

May we linger
in the chaos of beginning
while everything else prepares for the ending

let us meet here
in the first investment of the promise
quietly unfolding
in the less spoken of places
the lesser named spaces
and may we discover
heaven on new ground
the divine engagement
the creative imagination
that wonders
what love’s skin
will be like
and what you
are about to become

So be it

Before the Word

Before the word was spoken
the ancients wondered

Before the word uttered a word
angels whispered

Before the word formed a sentence
alleluias shifted

Before the word took breath
the story fidgeted

Before the word enfleshed good news
the prophets imagined

Before the word was born
the word was

And so we wait

Bethlehem Story

There was no inn in Bethlehem. There was no inn in Bethlehem because people welcomed each other into their own homes. There was no inn in Bethlehem for the extended family meant an extended welcome to all those who needed a place to stay.

And so Mary and Joseph, whose ancestral family hailed from such a place, found themselves on the doorstep of many homes, at first confident there would be space and then increasingly worried, that such a family as theirs was so extended, even the least among them, had no room left.

Pregnant with God, Mary stumbled as she slowly moved from house to house looking for a space. How could God be so heavy? She put one hand round her stomach, just as God kicked. ‘Could God not be a little more understanding?’ she thought.

Joseph could only keep one eye on Mary. The other was searching for the next door. He asked her to sit by the rock at the well, asked her to just keep breathing, rehearing each breath with her. Mary nodded, perched herself there one hand on her stomach and the other shoo-ing Joesph away to find a place to  stay..

Some women tutted with sympathy as they passed Mary. Other paused to touch her shoulder sharing her concern for just a quick moment. One chose to sit with her, rubbing her back.

Just then, Joseph ran back to her, weaving in among the crowd, dodging people chatting in groups, “Mary, Mary!”

He nodded to the woman sitting with her who helped her to stand and supported her through the crowd that Joseph parted it for her.

The door was open, to a house that was crowded. Mary briefly looked at the householder, and nodded in passing, unsure of where she was being led. The humidity and smell hit her straight away. Her insides heaved, and her baby moved.

Joseph led her through the one room and down two or there steps, to the lower half of the house. She knew where she was being led and was grateful. She held onto the wooden stall that divided the living quarters from where the animals were held and as Joseph bundled some hay and a stool together for her to rest on, she gave out a quiet moan.

She was in the stable of the house, the place where babies were born and kept warm by the animals, and in that brief moment, gave thanks, and knew the miracle it had been for Joseph to find this place, the warmest place, with a family just a few steps away, and the lowing of cattle soothing her pain.

She looked at Joseph, and took his hand as she slipped down onto the hay and knew the next miracle would not be long in coming.

Nature's Nativity

For natures own nativity
you must wait
under cold skies
that stretch with frost
towards the winter solstice

in such darkness
nature itself
fashions the land
and waits for the light to come
one pinprick at a time

as stars and galaxies
restless portents
that wiser ones consider
a sign of a new birth

the ground hardens
like human hearts
and in such snubbing chill
the creator seeks a home
but there is little room

yet the last of the dried leaves
with just a glint of hoar frost
caught in the moon
whisper like angel wings
and silent Alleluiaa

and those animals
who pause and know from their hillside
head down
to lower pastures
to the covered stables of valley trees

and there present
a richness of gifts
straw: a golden blanket
the sweet smell of fleece
and the musky aroma of life

in such a gathering
in the long darkness
they wait for light
to be born
after solstice night

It is natures own nativity
where the cold of winter
is real and hard
and makes the promise of new life
more vital

So join them tonight
and hear the story
cracking open
in the shattering of frost
under midnight skies

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