God Was Here: Come to Set Us Free







“Be patient and without bitterness, and realize that the least we can do is to make coming into existence no more difficult for Him than the earth does for spring when it wants to come.”
~Rainier Marie Rilke

Like the birds of the air flying free, we too were created to sing.  Yet too often we choose to be grounded — grousing and grumbling.

Many of us know nothing of anticipation of the coming of Christ, some of us might care if we knew, but plenty of us are ready for the whole Christmas thing to be over yesterday.

Whether we care or not does not alter that Christ dwells with us, just as the coming of spring is not stopped by a slumbering disinterested earth.

Like Mary, we say: “Let it be”, not “no, not me, not now.”

We are set free to fly and sing!
He has come on our behalf: a simple, but oh so difficult faith, like the shoot that must break through the crust of frozen earth to reach the sun, in order to bloom.






A star rose in the sky
and glory from on high
did fill the night with splendor.
Came birds with joyful voice
to carol and rejoice with
songs so sweet and tender.

The eagle then did rise,
went flying through the skies,
to tell the wondrous story,
sang: Jesus, born is he,
who comes to set us free,
he brings us joy and glory.

The sparrow with delight
said: This is Christmas night,
our happiness revealing.
The sky with praises rang,
as finch and robin sang
their songs of glad rejoicing.

The lark upon the wing
said: Now it seems like spring,
no more is winter pressing;
for now a flower is born
whose fragrance on this morn
to earth brings heaven’s blessing.

Sang magpie, thrush, and jay,
It seems the month of May
in answer to our yearning.
The trees again are green
and blossoms now are seen,
it is the spring returning!

The cuckoo sang: Come, come,
And celebrate the dawn
this glorious aurora.
The raven from his throat
then trilled a festive note
to the unexcelled Señora.

The partridge then confessed,
I want to build my nest
beneath that very gable
where I may see the Child
and watch whene’er he smiles
with Mary in that stable.
~translation from Catalonian of “Carol of the Birds”





Whence comes this rush of wings afar
Following straight the Noel star
Birds from the woods in wondrous flight
Bethlehem seek this holy night

Tell us, ye birds, why come ye here?
Into this stable, poor and drear?
Hasting to see the new born King
And all our sweetest musics bring

Hark! How the winged finch bears his part
Philomel, too with tender heart:
Chants from her leafy dark retreat,
“Re, me, fa, sol” in accents sweet

Angels, and shepherds, birds of the sky
Come where the Son of God doth lie
Christ from the earth and man doth dwell
Come join in the shout, “Noel, Noel, Noel.”
~Carol of the Birds (traditional Catalonian carol)


One thought on “God Was Here: Come to Set Us Free

  1. Beautiful, Emily. First reference I have ever read that mentions birds on that night of all nights, the one that changed all that was or ever will be.. I especially liked the last line in the Carol of the Birds re the Partridge wanting his nest near to the stable so he could see the smiling child and Mary. This thought came to me as I re-read that lovely line:
    Mary, a young Jewish maiden, trustingly surrendered her will to God – the first to say, ‘Yes.’ That ‘Yes’ would eventually include all of the many sorrows that would accrue in her life for the rest of Jesus’ earthly existence as God Incarnate — right up to and including accepting her Son’s broken bleeding body into her arms at the foot of His cross.
    After two millennia, her ‘Yes,’ her surrender, her willingness to accept what was asked of her, is a model, a sacred paradigm, for those who accept Jesus’ invitation to follow him as His disciples – to remind us of His Father’s love, to spread His Message and to reach out to those who are suffering and in need, Inherent within our ‘yes,’ however, is the same as it was for Mary: it may also include sorrows, even unto the death of our earthly body.

    You beautifully remind us of Mary’s blessed, Spirit-enabled reply to what is being asked of her via the angel — her ‘Yes,’ as Luke notes in his Visitation/Announcement story:
    ‘May it be done to me according to your word’ (Lk 1:38b). I could not help but wonder if her profound but humble ‘Yes’ acknowledgment may have been preceded by a few short moments of puzzlement and concern about why it was SHE who was being asked that commitment. Her reply — an awe-inspiring faith-trust statement made it abundantly clear that she was (and is) the right person.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.