Awaken the Promise

In hope for the year ahead.
 
God bless.
 
 
“Awaken the Promise”
 
Electric candles in golden chandeliers
coat the ceiling in yellow greetings while evergreens
dance down the edges of the stained glass windows to settle around
soft, looped red bows. Cozy in the crowded pews,
the congregation is audience to song and sermon.
 
Lights above and around them dim
for the last hymn. Sanctuary is invaded by darkness.
 
The people pass one light to each other,
wick to wick, candle to candle, flame to flame.
Arms lift the light high as one, a hundred different
sleeves, skins, and strengths caught in the rise
of the candlelight. In rumbling chorus
they call on the peace of silent night’s song and shake the shadows.
Among them wakens the Christmas promise of change.
 
 
 
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Awaken the Promise by Briana Batty is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

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Advent #3, Cradle Me

A poem to remind us to not only welcome the gift of grace and love we celebrate in Jesus’s birth, but also to keep celebrating it and taking strength from it year-round.
 
God bless
 
“Cradle me”
 
cradle me
new and hopeful I come
fragile and willing I come
cradle me
 
embrace me
tiny and loving I come
brave and graceful I come
embrace me
 
carry me
however old I become
however old you become
carry me
 
 
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Cradle Me by Briana Batty is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Advent #2, Winter Whispers

Holidays do not always bring comfort and joy, especially when the past year has held a loss in the family. To those who feel that pain this year, I pray peace for you and that you will be surrounded in love.
 
God bless
 
“Winter Whispers”
 
Winter blows in without sound.
Color has dropped into a brown carpet
on the wet roads as we gather, one less,
around meals and traditions and decorations.
Your voice was so much a part
of them that without it I’ve been tossed
into a black and white film where I
read the script on a title card. Tell me
what to say now that I am the voice
to fill mealtimes and give directions.
 
Snowfall buries the world with gray and quiet.
Staring out dark windows I take the time to
remember. Faint but true, you speak into
the moments I feared would stay empty and
raw. Snowfall brushes glass with white,
catches Christmas tree lights, whirls into prisms.
Perhaps in echoes and memory God
brings us closer to the great beyond
you crossed ahead of me.
 
 
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Winter Whispers by Briana Batty is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Advent #1, Brush of Winter

The Advent season reminds us of preparations for the birth of Jesus millennia ago and is also a time in which we reflect on welcoming him in the present. Those preparations also can remind us to open our hearts and lives to all God’s children, no matter our divisions and differences. In Jesus, I see hope for this outreach and healing.
 
God bless
 
 

“Brush of Winter”
 
I painted my eyes with winter to
      learn to see the song in swirling snow 
    and the heartbeat in the sleeping world 
beneath crystal stars. Anticipation
    places brushes of hope in our fingers and invites
    us to create a home of belonging.
Paint widely, my hand. See far, my eyes.
Here again is the reminder to 
     begin again in grace.

 
 
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Brush of Winter by Briana Batty is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Christmas Hurry

Hi everyone,
 
This poem reflects on how we can learn from Mary and the first Christmas when the holidays overwhelm us. Mary and Joseph must have had a stressful time traveling all the way to Bethlehem with the ticking clock of a baby on the way (Luke 2:1-7). Our crazy Christmas season has anxiety as well—but maybe that means we can share the same exhausted and fulfilling joy Mary and Joseph had when they held their son Jesus that night in the stable for the first time.
 
God bless
 
 

“Christmas Hurry”
 
rushed and breathless,
    running but coming up
        short as hectic schedules
   chase you around the clock.
when you collapse into its
        ticking hands, they throw you forward 
           again, launching you into another 
                      restless Christmas.
 
she, too, knows the jostling rushed
    ride of the season: a long, hurried
      journey but still arriving too late
             to get a bed to sleep in, and birth pains
                 won’t wait and there isn’t enough time
                         to look any longer, so she guesses
                   this will just have to be Christmas—
 
—but the rush of time stops
when he opens his new eyes to see her.
the draining hourglasses of the world
        mean nothing now:
she holds eternity in her arms.

 
 
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Christmas Hurry by Briana Batty is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Star Journey

Hi everyone,
 
I’m a little late posting this, but this poem reflects on the story of Epiphany (January 6), when we celebrate the arrival of the Magi. According to the Gospel of Matthew (Matthew 2:1-18), the Magi traveled almost 2 years to meet Jesus, led by nothing but a guiding star. These Magi, or “wise men,” showed dedication through what must have been a difficult and faith-challenging journey. It takes a lot of courage to follow a star in the sky to find a newborn King, but they made it there.
 
When he was older, Jesus told his disciples, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you” (Matthew 7:7). This promise is so important to us whenever we struggle to find faith, especially in difficult days of grief, rejection, depression, and doubt. In times like these, think of the Magi. It was a long way through the desert, but they followed the guiding star to the newborn King Jesus. May we, too, keep seeking as they did.
 
God bless
 
“Star Journey”
 
even if there is a star
marking where you are,
my pathway still lies through
flat dry waste and
mountainous dunes of
gritty pale rock and dust.
 
even though that star
never falters, never wavers,
never hides, my pathway still
stretches over years, and
my precious hope all but runs
dry.
 
even though that star
convinced me to leave everything
behind, my pathway still
splinters my resolve every
heavy step I take.
 
even though this star
comforts me at night, the desert’s
scorching day burns through my
ease of mind and sheds light on a
myriad questions.
 
nevertheless, I do not stop—
not for doubts, not for questions,
not for throbbing feet—
because even though this star
is taking me on the hardest
journey of my life,
I believe this star
marks the end of my desert road: that
precious place where
a Child of hope and redemption
beckons me to come.
 
 
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Star Journey by Briana Batty is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Christmas Roads

Merry Christmas!
 
Here is a short poem about how whatever the journey has been like to get to this day—whether exciting or painful or busy or hopeful—we have arrived. I pray that we can pause, even for a moment, to remember the destination of the Christmas Nativity scene, where Jesus was born, and rejoice in its meaning: Christ is in our world and His grace is here to light up our lives in new and brilliant ways.
 
God bless
 
“Christmas Roads”
 
We each come to Christmas
on different roads. Like in
the Bible’s tales, for some it is a day
heralded by angels singing out joy and
peace. For others, it is a long trek through
deserts of the heart and mind, pushing on for that
star no matter how long it takes. And still more
come to Christmas by Mary’s path: a weary
journey and a flood of agony, in the
body or in the soul.
 
We come by different roads, but
we come somehow,
some way to the same place of
celebration, grace, and new
beginnings.
This day, may we sit together under
one roof of love, share our tales,
worship our God, and draw strength
from that most abundant of wells
to go out again on our roads.
 
 
*Acknowledgment: partly inspired by past Christmas and Advent sermons at my home church.
**Jesus is the living water, an ‘abundant well’ for us all to draw from spiritually for eternal life (see John 4:1-16 about living water and John 10:1-10 about abundant life)

 
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Christmas Roads by Briana Batty is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

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