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Saturday, December 28, 2013

Christmas: The Arrival of Meaning

Well, day four is here. Christmas continues to move us forward in our experience of the child who changed the world. Today's Christmas thought is a poem I wrote almost ten years ago, while in college, after having taken a class on existential philosophy and being reminded once again that life was meaningless and those who felt they needed real purpose were more or less screwed. 

I've only posted one other poem of mine before.  I try to reflect upon the pilgrim's walk, as experienced in my current pursuit of the contemplative life. I shy away from sharing work that came from a time in my life where I wanted nothing to do with that kind of approach to God. I didn't really want transformation then. 

But as the battle for Christmas rages on in the media, whether we as a country should represent one religion over others or no religion at all, I'm reminded that the Child came to give us truth, purpose, and meaning. The poem fits. No matter how many nativity scenes are removed from the public sphere, the child grew up to be One whose word endures, even to the end of the age. This is the message he brought us: life does have meaning. We have a purpose. We are loved.

Without purpose, breath is just a clock 
I long to leave this school, 
a postcard sent and soon 
will just be sitting stagnant,
buried with the others. 
They too will disappear.  
The earth has taken heavy breath again, 
so say the bells. They used to resonate 
their witness then that God breaths life 
and we inhale His exhale. 
Now it’s been forgotten. 
One such ticking clock once said, 
We're here to serve, not to be served,
and He has long since stopped, or so is said.  
His gears have ground to dust.  
The problem is they preach the clock, 
ignore the hopeless consequence 
of their Darwinian philosophy. 
If, for just one interrupted moment, 
we could glimpse the coming day when all will cease 
and sand no longer falls, then those who teach
—and if not teach, then live—the lie 
(that meaning now and meaning’s god are dead, 
that crime is just a natural thing we try 
along with those we love, worth little more 
than dirt, and who’s to judge what’s true?) 
would rather change their trite convictions  
than admit the longing of their souls, 
awakened at the edge of pardon
and the terror of life’s sunset dawning, 
can never be attained. 

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