The Waiting Room

Hi everyone,
 
This is another Advent poem, written for these weeks while we prepare ourselves for Christmas and celebrating Jesus’ birth into our world. Let us remember that while we wait for Jesus to come, we should do more than “watch and wait” for Him.* Our waiting season should be filled to overflowing with actively reaching out to the people around us, breaking out of our shells into the new life Christ’s birth heralds for us all.
 
God bless

*See Matthew 24:42 to 25:30 for several stories Jesus tells about waiting for the Second Coming of Christ – whenever we wait for Him, whether symbolically in Christmas Day or literally for His Return, Jesus’ words tell us to keep busy doing good work: “Happy that servant if his master comes home and finds him at work!” (24:42)
 
“Waiting Room”
 
waiting room in a doctor’s office,
an echoing white box where sounds
of the morning news on the television clash
with shuffling magazine pages.
the many people in the room all wait for the same
Healer and the news he brings.
Two sets of eyes watch the news but never
share a glance with each other.
the stories of arguing politicians, war, terror, and disaster
glaze over their staring eyes.
three sets of eyes read magazines, and four sets
fix on the minute hand circling
the clock as the room waits, waits, waits.
boredom traces some faces like a gray crayon,
but pale blue fear haloes others.
in one corner an old woman curls over, shaking,
eyes squeezed shut on the world,
only letting tears escape. the room is still and
full of the glazed eyes.
a boy sitting by his mother fidgets, turns,
sees the shaking woman.
he slides from his chair and
walks to her, touches her arm and smiles. she
opens her eyes. He holds out a pack of
tissues printed with cherry red cars and trucks,
and she takes one from the plastic with a
hesitant smile. A few sets of eyes
pull themselves from the screen, the pages, and
the clock, and the people realize
what they’ve been waiting for.
Then the door opens, the Healer walks out,
and he smiles at the boy with the tissues
who is already seeing his patients
 
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The Waiting Room by Briana Batty is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

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In the Cedar Chest

Hi everyone!
 
I’m back after another break. This poem was written as a reminder that the craze for “new” and “more” in this holiday season does not satisfy and is not the point of Christmas. We need to look backward to an ancient gift given over and over and over again to us each year: grace. God’s grace is new every morning (see Lamentations 3:23), and it looks especially bright on the dawn of His Son’s birthday.
 
God bless
 
“In the Cedar Chest”
 
as the sun rises on a chilly neighborhood, you flop
out of bed and reach for an outfit
to wear today. you lay out the same thing
you always do, frown, and decide you’re
tired of the same-old. so you dig
through your cedar chest
and rediscover a magnificent sweater
you had completely
forgotten.
 
it is a hand-me-down that you got
from your grandfather ten years ago at Christmas;
it is tightly hand-knit with bold colors, warm and sturdy.
you wonder how it got to the bottom
of the chest but can’t remember. It doesn’t matter
because today the sweater gets another chance.
 
people ask you where you got it,
how much it cost, and where can they get one?
you tell them it was a family gift from long ago
and then watch as these people slowly drop the questions
about price tags and outlets and start to wonder
what treasures they have forgotten
in their own cedar chests.
 
 
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In the Cedar Chest by Briana Batty is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Pondering

Hi everyone,
 
This is a poem for after Christmas, when the holiday is suddenly over, everyone is exhausted, but there is always more to do ahead. I’m sure Mary and Joseph felt just as tired after their eventful day: a difficult travel into town, no comfortable place to sleep, Mary giving birth to Jesus in a stable, shepherds appearing and talking about angels and wanting to visit the new king… I find that the verse that follows the busy events of the first Christmas very important to remember: Luke 2:19 (NIV) says, “But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” This verse about reflection inspired my poem. We, too, can pause and reflect to help us get ready for whatever comes next.
 
God bless!

 
“Pondering”
Inspired by Luke 2:19

I.
the babe is sleeping,
the shepherds have left,
the animals are silent,
the stable is still.

in these few hours when quiet comes
Mary stays awake, too tired for rest.
each busy moment settles into memory,
and each memory she ponders,
each memory, she treasures.

II.
the season is over,
the presents given,
the children are sleeping,
the house is still.

in these few hours when quiet comes,
when you are too tired for rest:
ponder. remember. pray.

the Prince of Peace waits in the silence
to speak to you,
to center you once again,
strengthen you in your weariness.
He knows what these days are like
for you. He lived them, too.
like His mother, He knew to take time
to ponder and pray,
no matter the events
behind or ahead.

III.
Ahead is a new year.
the uncertainty is waiting,
anticipation growing,
questions stirring.

Mary, too, faced new days
of questions.
that night in the stable
she closed her eyes and
pondered. prepared
to face new days of questions
as a woman rooted in faith.

IV.
Morning breaks.
The pondering silence is gone,
the busyness comes,
and the faith holds on, deep
like an anchor in the quiet
below the waves.
 
 
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Pondering by Briana Batty is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Angel, Angel

Hi everyone,
 
This is a new poem written about the first Christmas in Israel. It is told from a shepherd’s perspective and is the story of how he hears the Good News and is changed by his encounter with the newborn Christ. It is based on Luke 2:8-20.
 
God bless, and Merry Christmas!

 
“Angel, Angel”

Angel, angel what do you see
coming out of the clouds and looking at me?
Do you see just a shepherd boy tending his flock,
wide-eyed with wonder, tongue-tied with shock?

Shepherd, shepherd, what can I see
soaring so high above earth and sea?
I can see someone to tell my Good News
that salvation has come in the King of the Jews.

Angel, angel, I want to see
this Savior who’s come to set us all free.
Tell me what should I look for, what should I know?
Where is He now – where should I go?

Shepherd, shepherd, He waits for you now
curled up in a manger, near goat, sheep, and cow.
He is now but a child, but He is ever a King:
the Lord of the Hosts, who rules everything.
Go find Him in Bethlehem, go see what God’s done:
giving His all by sending His Son.

Shepherds, Shepherds, let’s go and see
all that the angel has told you and me.
And as we come near, my friends, can you tell?
It’s He who was promised this precious Noel.

Jesus, Jesus, what do you see
peeking out of the manger and looking at me?
Can You see all my fears, my hopes, and my dreams
on this night of all nights where naught’s as it seems?
For I feel like You know me all through and through,
that with just one look You’ve made me anew.

Jesus, Jesus, I know I must leave
to spread this Good News so all might believe.
For tonight I’ve seen angels, seen wonder, seen You,
and strange as it all seems, I know it is true.

So stranger, stranger, listen to me:
the Good Lord has come to set us all free.
I heard it from angels, then saw with my eyes
the King of all glory, the earth and the skies.
You’d never suspect Him, so tiny and new
but He’s the Healer of Hearts and dearly loves you.
He’s waiting to meet you, just like He met me
He’s right there before you—look and you’ll see.
 
 
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Angel, Angel by Briana Batty is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

The Little Candles

Hi everyone,

This poem is for those grieving during this Christmas season. Pain and loss cause darkness in our lives. They make it hard to get through cheerful holidays or even face an ordinary day. Christmas, though, is a promise of a new day—and a new life in the newborn Christ. Our loved ones are promised this life, and so are we. Some days the hope and healing He offers us may feel like they are coming slowly, but like rays of sunlight coming one by one over the horizon, they will bring a new dawn and better days.

God bless!

“The Little Candles”
For the grieving this Christmas season, for peace deep inside them

All the lights just went out.
You could still hear everyone breathing or
coughing here and there, like bursts of static
on a silent radio station.
I sat still, imagining the darkness was nothing more
than a chilly blanket wrapped around the congregation
in the sanctuary that Christmas Eve.
But after a long moment, the darkness got colder,
the sounds grew distant, and my mind made
the black air empty and eternal.
It reminded me of the first night I went to bed
knowing I couldn’t wake up and call you anymore
when I wanted to talk,
the first night I knew I couldn’t run to you
when I needed you,
the first night I knew you wouldn’t be there
for the next Christmas, the next New Year,
the next day.

In the front of the sanctuary the pastor lit
the Christ Candle.
The little flame jumped awake in the nest of wax,
turning the cold white candle a buttery yellow.
The pastor held it up, and we began to sing Silent Night.
We each held our own little unlit candles, waiting for the light
to be passed to each of us, a symbol of Christ’s hope spreading
among us.
I sat perfectly still, watching. I felt that I’d been waiting a long time
for this light.

When the flame reached me, I lit my candlewick
from my neighbor’s and passed on the flame.
My tiny fire danced in my shaking sigh
as I cradled the candle in my frigid fingers.
I wished you were here, whispered that wish quietly
and swallowed the growing impulse
to cry.

The song rose, and we lifted our voices and our candles.
Holding up that little flame, I pictured you in it:
fresh and bright and warm again.
The darkness faded in all the candlelight
and I imagined each flame was a person we’d lost
now shining and whole again, a reminder in the darkness
that dawn comes one ray at a time.

When the sun rises tomorrow on Christmas
I’ll see you winking from the clouds:
a bright soul lighting up the heavens
and living out a promise of eternity.
 
 
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The Little Candles by Briana Batty is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Tiny One

Hi everyone!

This is a new poem for Advent. It is about Jesus new to our world, with so much ahead of Him as He grows into the man who will save us from our sin. I can picture His mother, Mary, looking at her firstborn and wondering about all that’s in store for Him.

God bless!

“Tiny One”
 
tiny hand in the straw
here to answer God’s call,
to reach and to hold
with a Love bright and bold.

tiny feet in the cold
here to walk a long road
to carry the Word
so that it might be heard.

tiny eyes in the light,
small, new, and bright
shining so bravely
for this world He’ll be saving.

tiny lungs breathe Earth’s air
and small ears hear a prayer
as Mary welcomes her son:
Now Your journey’s begun…

 
 
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Tiny One by Briana Batty is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Welcome!

Hello everyone, and welcome!

This blog is a collection of my Christian poetry, both old and new.  In the past, I’ve sent my poems to friends and family, but now I’d like to share these poems of faith to a wider audience as well.  You can read more about the background of this project on my About page.

For the holiday season, I plan on posting mostly Advent poems.  Some will be new, and others will be ones from past years that some of you might recognize.  As I go along, I’ll not only put up new material, but will post many of my previous poems so that you’ll have access to them online.   My posting schedule may be a little irregular in the beginning, but I hope to soon settle into posting a poem every two to three weeks.

Thanks to all the friends and family who supported me and got me this far.  I couldn’t have done it without you.  And most importantly, thanks to God for encouraging me to take this next step in sharing these poems with more people.

My first poem for you all is called “While I’m Waiting.”  It’s about how we need to take time to reflect during Advent about the core of Christmas: God’s love and salvation coming into the world for us.

God bless!

 

“While I’m Waiting”

this year, what will I do
while I’m waiting for Christmas?
I ask myself this as I list errands to run,
gifts to buy, food to make, decorations to hang.
In my rush, I start to jot down ‘wait’ on the list
with everything else.

I stop then, staring at the half-written word.
Wait.

I too often fill up that four-letter word
with a hundred tasks and
a million yammering thoughts.
I do not wait well.  I pace, I worry.
Minute by minute by minute
I check my watch.  I keep my hands
busy, busy, busy with things to do.

This year, I am going
to stop.

This year while I wait
I will carve out moments to sit,
to listen past the noise
of shopping malls and holiday music
for the story that gave the world joy again,
peace again, hope again:
a tale still as unassuming
as the stable where it all began.
The King of Grace born to us
to save the wayward, soothe the broken,
love every delightful, wondering heart.
that story is sitting patiently to be found,
in this season of anticipation.

I put aside my list for now.
it can wait.

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While I’m Waiting by Briana Batty is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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