The Challenge of Light

The people walking in darkness
    have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
    a light has dawned.




The Challenge of Light


advent is not about the coming

of a sweet baby.

it is not about sentimental,

trumped-up emotion.

advent challenges us

to an adult acceptance

of the kingdom of god,

to social imperatives,

to self-forgetfulness,

to letting go,

to a deliberate emptiness.


we like to make the Christ

into a perpetual baby.

we can cuddle a baby,

a baby asks nothing of us.

the Christ is so much more demanding.


advent doesn’t just happen

the four weeks leading up to Christmas.

our lives our one huge advent.

our lives are about bringing light

into this dark world.


in advent and winter we wait for light.

do we forget it’s up to us

to be light in the darkness

of a world that is






it’s easy to get hung up

in religion,

in practice,

in institutional think.

it’s easy to feel complacent

because we go to church,

because we give money.

the litmus test

is giving of ourselves,

is embracing mystery.

advent is not just a passive waiting.

it allows that we are responsible

to be light-bearers.

Most of these thoughts come from a small meditation book: Preparing for Christmas by Richard Rohr. I find them unsettling, preachy, even disturbing–I suppose because Rohr has hit that sore spot that challenges those of us who are Christian to really look at what Jesus asks of us in the Gospels. I hope there will be a message for all to hear…no matter what your own personal beliefs.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and many good things in 2014.

Photo: V. Slotto

Photo: V. Slotto


Sunshine with Partial Cloudiness

Written for dVerse Poets’ Open Link Night--a reflection on  the meaning of Christmas.


Sunlight (Photo credit: Dave Stokes)

Sunshine, with Partial Cloudiness

You stop me cold.
I’m lost in a fog
of steam, thoughts
and ruminations.
Then you peek through
the shower glass,
enlighten a droplet
of water, burst colors—
prisms to interrupt
my distractions.

In a bubble forming
on my forearm, you capture
my attention again,
force me to the present
moment. I notice the play
of spray on my bare skin,
hear the colors of music.
Through almost-closed blinds,
your light slows
in song to praise,
to dissipate dark clouds,
naked tree branches.

Is this how it was
for shepherds grazing
their flocks that night?
For kings searching
to grasp mysteries?
For us common folk
who muddle through life,
grapple with violence?

The feather of a cedar
waxwing, snags on the
tree outside my window
flutters in the breeze.
I can’t see wind,
only discern its presence
by its effect on something
tangible. Children died.
But love shines through
if you look for it.

Yesterday in K-Mart,
at the LayAway counter
an older couple paid
down the debt of shoppers
who were delinquent,
scanning accounts that had
children’s toys. A younger
man, bearing no resemblance
whatsoever to Santa,
dropped $300 in cash
on the counter. “Add this
to whatever they do.”

So, where is the Sun?
So, where is the Son?

Merry Christmas to all! The Pub opens Tuesday, 15:00 EST. Hope to see as many of you as are able to make it. Don’t forget, you can join us on Wednesday, too.

Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum) eating berries

Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum) eating berries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Write2Day–Writing from the Light Side

English: Binswood Avenue in the sun and snow. ...

Image via Wikipedia

This will be a somewhat short post, since I’m compelled to give my elbow tendonitis a rest. Last week we discussed writing from the dark side. We all know, there’s plenty of darkness to go around. So today, in order to add contrast to our writer’s palette, let’s light up the place…an appropriate topic for this season of the year when so many traditions celebrate light in one form or another. Think of Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanza, Winter Solstice, Diwali…all celebrations that revolve in one way or another around light.

So, for today’s prompt, consider writing about your celebrations of light–or light sources such as the moon, the sun, stars or candles. Maybe you would like to post a humorous piece or something with bright happy colors. How about an event that features joy: children at play, dancing, or music. Take it wherever you like, but let’s get out of the doldrums for this week’s prompt.

To participate:
Write your poem or short prose and post it to your blog.
Access Mr. Linky at the bottom of this post.
Include your name and the direct URL to your poem.
Visit and comment on other participants.

You will find my poem for dVerse OLN in the previous post!

Next week at dVerse I will be hosting Meeting the Bar (Thursday, 3 PM EST). In that post, I will focus in more depth on the subject of contrast. Hope to see you there as well.

Darkness is Only a Degree of Light

A flame from a burning candle

Image via Wikipedia


Darkness is Only a Degree of Light






When the year is at its nadir
and darkness overtakes
the light, someone,
lights a

The flame eases into your
consciousness and
you understand
that we were
to see.

Welcome all the children of
Earth. Revel in your need
to join in celebration.
Now’s the moment
to set the world
on fire.