The snow is melting
and the village is flooded
~Kobayashi Issa (translated by Robert Haas)
A voice is heard in Ramah,
mourning and great weeping,
Rachel weeping for her children
and refusing to be comforted,
because they are no more.
Matthew 2:18 and Jeremiah 31:15
…as you sit beneath your beautifully decorated tree, eat the rich food of celebration, and laugh with your loved ones, you must not let yourself forget the horror and violence at the beginning and end of the Christmas story. The story begins with the horrible slaughter of children and ends with the violent murder of the Son of God. The slaughter depicts how much the earth needs grace. The murder is the moment when that grace is given.
Look into that manger representing a new life and see the One who came to die. Hear the angels’ celebratory song and remember that sad death would be the only way that peace would be given. Look at your tree and remember another tree – one not decorated with shining ornaments, but stained with the blood of God.
As you celebrate, remember that the pathway to your celebration was the death of the One you celebrate, and be thankful.
God could, had He pleased, have been incarnate in a man of iron nerves, the Stoic sort who lets no sigh escape him. Of His great humility He chose to be incarnate in a man of delicate sensibilities who wept at the grave of Lazarus and sweated blood in Gethsemane. Otherwise we should have missed the great lesson that it is by his will alone that a man is good or bad, and that feelings are not, in themselves, of any importance. We should also have missed the all-important help of knowing that He has faced all that the weakest of us face, has shared not only the strength of our nature but every weakness of it except sin. If He had been incarnate in a man of immense natural courage, that would have been for many of us almost the same as His not being incarnate at all.
― C.S. Lewis, The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis
There is no consolation for families
of those lost to death come too soon:
a rogue king’s slaughter of innocents,
and now so much needless death:
weather, war, accidents, random shootings, COVID.
Arms ache with the emptiness of grief,
beds and pillows lie cold and unused,
hugs never to come again.
There is no consolation;
only mourning and great weeping,
sobbing that wrings dry
every human cell,
leaving dust behind,
which is our beginning
and our end.
God came to us
for times such as this,
born of the dust of woman and
the breath of the Holy Spirit,
God bent down to
lie in manger dust,
walk on roads of dust,
die and be laid to rest as dust
to conquer such evil as this
that displaces masses and massacres innocents.
He became dust to be
He began a mere speck in a womb
His heart beat
breathing each breath
until a fearful fallen world
and our breath
He shines through
the shadows of death
to guide our stumbling uncertain feet.
He hears our cries
as He cried too.
He knows our tears
as He wept too.
He knows our mourning
as He mourned too.
He knows our dying
as He died too.
as this happens.
Only God can glue together
what evil has shattered.
He asks us to hand Him
the pieces of our broken hearts.
We will know His peace
when He comes
to bring us home,
our tears finally dried,
our cells no longer
as we are glued together
by the holy breath of our God
Lully, lullay, thou little tiny child,
Bye bye, lully, lullay.
Thou little tiny child,
Bye bye, lully, lullay.
O sisters too, how may we do
For to preserve this day
This poor youngling for whom we sing,
“Bye bye, lully, lullay?”
Herod the king, in his raging,
Chargèd he hath this day
His men of might in his own sight
All young children to slay.
That woe is me, poor child, for thee
And ever mourn and may
For thy parting neither say nor sing,
“Bye bye, lully, lullay.”
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One thought on “Because They Are No More”
Thank you, Emily, for your beautiful, comforting ‘why’ of the Incarnation Mystery, given to us in human
understanding to hold close within our souls as we pass on your gift to our children, grandchildren…
and others who may ponder the question….
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