Sunday, December 09, 2012

Sometimes, words are worth 1000 pictures

There are times when the rich words of the poets say it best.  I admit it.  I struggle with this whole Christmas thing. I'm tired, I'm busy, I'm broke.  What we as a culture have done with Christmas is just wrong, and trying to tag it as a religious holiday makes it even worse.  I would gladly take the name "Christmas" off of the commercialized, materialistic glut-fest that our culture observes every year.

Christmas should be calm.

Or maybe loud, boisterous, and full of laughter.

But not crazed, exhausting, and guilt-inducing.

Two poems -- two very different poems -- have been on my mind lately.

First, an old one: 

This world is too much with us
By William Wordsworth

This world is too much with us; late and soon
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon,
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers,
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not.--Great God! I'd rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn. 

And now, a new one:

I Feel Sorry for Jesus
By Naomi Shihab Nye

People won’t leave Him alone.
I know He said, wherever two or more
are gathered in my name…

But I bet some days He regrets it.

Cozily they tell you what he wants
and doesn’t want
as if they just got an e-mail.
Remember “Telephone,” that pass-it-on game

where the message changed dramatically
by the time it rounded the circle?
People blame terrible pieties on Jesus.

They want to be his special pet.
Jesus deserves better.
I think He’s been exhausted
for a very long time.

He went into the desert, friends.
He didn’t go into the pomp.
He didn’t go into
the golden chandeliers

and say, the truth tastes better here.
See? I’m talking like I know.
It’s dangerous talking for Jesus.
You get carried away almost immediately.

I stood in the spot where He was born.
I closed my eyes where He died and didn’t die.
Every twist of the Via Dolorosa
was written on my skin.

And that makes me feel like being silent
for Him, you know? A secret pouch
of listening. You won’t hear me
mention this again.


Debbie Mitchell said...

I love your post. The poems are so good and your words so true. I absolutely love Christmas but the exhaustion and commercialism are terrible on many many of us. Your post reminds me of some of the greatest advice, I think, we have received... Be still and know that I am God.

Meg Daugherty said...

Absolutely. Holidays in general seem to be overly materialistic.