Poem – Old Year, New Year

Can you believe that in 48 hours a whole new year will be stretching out before us, virtually untouched? I for one can hardly believe that 2017 is drawing post haste to an end, and 2018 is looming large in the very-near-future!! Seriously, time has gone by so fast this year (and I could talk about this topic of fast time moving for a very long time, believe me. It constantly confounds me. :D) and I would rather like to hit a pause button and let the fact that 2017 is nearly over sink in before it’s time for a whole new year to come upon us (and goodness gracious, that was a long sentence, wasn’t it. 😀 The movement of time is a rather flustering subject, thus it causes grammatical problems in my writing. Sorry about that) (And let’s finish the parentheses now before they get ridiculous :D).

So yes, time is moving fast, and it’s crazy. And in honour of this mind-boggling thing of a new year, I’m posting a poem today about that very subject. But it’s not just any poem. It’s actually one of, if not the, very first poem I ever wrote. And I wrote it when 2017 was just a wee little babby of 90 minutes old. I do hope that you enjoy this poem, aptly titled:

 

Old Year, New Year

Silent

the world is waiting

watching

as the Old Year takes its final breaths.

Faded and worn

the Old year has run its course

completed the race

of 366 days

and now it droops under its mantle of cold

silent

air.

Silent

The world is waiting

watching

as the Old Year takes its final breaths

The clock strikes

a bell tolls

1…

Memories flash by

2…

Memories of laughter

3…

Of tears

4…

Of dreams come true

5…

And of dreams crushed to the dust

6…

The Old Year was full of memories

7…

And the New Year is coming soon

8…

Mere seconds of the Old Year’s life are left hanging in the balance

9…

One last breath, one last inhale of air

10…

Silence

The world is watching

Waiting

11…

The Old Year exhales

Breaths its last

One long gusty breath of wind

Nothing

12…

The final strike

One breathless second of anticipation

Then

the world

erupts

Shouting in jubilation

Breaking the silence

Celebrating the birth of the New Year

The whole year stretches ahead

Pristine

New

Clean

Unbroken by human touch

Memories are all that is left of the past Year

As all of humanity eagerly reaches ahead

Grasping at

the Hope

the New Year brings

~

Let’s chat in the comments below! What have been some of your favourite memories of this past, old year of 2017? What are you looking forward to in the new year of 2018?

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He Found Favour in Her – The Birth

Merry Christmas to you all!!! I hope that today is full of joy and wonder and precious moments for you as we celebrate the birth of our Saviour! And as a small Christmas gift to you all, here is the last part of He Found Favour in Her. 😉 Click here to read Part 5: The Journey

~

The Birth

Night had fallen like a blue velvet blanket over the town of Bethlehem. The day had been loud and busy, the little town was full to bursting with travellers coming for the census. Now, all was quiet, the sleeping people were tucked away in houses and inns.

However, in one house, it was not quiet.

A middle-aged women was ordering two men around. “Joseph, get the animals out, and tie them up outside!” “Benjamin, go for old Sarah the midwife!” A flurry of activity was happening, men hustling animals out the door, the animals protesting at the rush, and the woman rushing around the main room grabbing items of importance.

Amidst all of the activity, Mary sat quietly on a stool, eyes closed, only her white lips and lined forehead giving away that she was in labour. Three sheep and a cow were being herded out by her worried-looking husband Joseph, and an older man rushed out the door, pulling on his cloak as he went.

A sleepy looking woman stuck her head through the door on the far corner of the room. “What’s happening? Rebecca?”

“It’s Mary’s time.” answered the older woman over her shoulder, as she bent over a box in the opposite corner.

“Oh, do you need my help? Or this room?” The women blearily rubbed her eyes, her sagging figure betraying her exhaustion due to their long journey just finished that evening. Joseph and Mary had given up the small guest room to their cousin Tamar’s family, since they had 4 small children, and were in more need of it than them. They had moved into the main room with their Uncle Benjamin and Aunt Rebecca, along with the family animals that roomed there during the night.

“No, no Tamar. We’ll be fine in this room.” Rebecca hurriedly replied, as she gathered up an armful of linens. “Old Sarah the midwife is coming, so we don’t need you. You go back to bed.”

“Alright. Get me if you need anything.” Tamar disappeared back into the other room, shutting the door behind her.

“Ohhhhh…” Mary groaned softly and rocked back and forth. The pains were gripping her body with greater intensity now, like bands of iron tightening around her belly.

“Right, nearly ready now.” said Rebecca, bustling around with blankets, water and whatnot.

“Thank you, Aunt Rebecca. You are very kind…” Mary sucked in a sharp breath as another pain gripped her.

“Oh, it’s nothing. You’re family! And here comes old Sarah now…” Rebecca turned to greet the hunched over old woman, escorted by Benjamin. “Thank you for coming, Sarah.”

“’Ah, tis nothing.” Sarah responded, her voice raspy with age. She went over to where Rebecca was laying out herbs to be boiled and conferred with her in low tones.

“Mary?” Joseph’s dark head poked through the doorway. “Can I see her?” he questioned.

“Yes, but just for a moment. Then out you go!” Rebecca nodded her assent.

Joseph quickly covered the distance between him and Mary, and knelt down beside her.

“Mary.” That one word conveyed many feelings. Concern, excitement, love. He took her hand in his, squeezing it, and gently brushed a curling tendril of hair off her damp forehead.

“Joseph…” Mary smiled up at him gently, her hand clenching his tightly. “He will be here soon. Our Messiah, the promised one who will save our people.” she murmured.

“Just as the angel said…” Joseph replied, smiling back at his labouring wife.

“Yes… Ohhhhh!” Mary groaned as another pain gripped her with intensity.

“Right, out you go now Joseph! And you too Benjamin. You go watch over the animals.” Rebecca ordered.

“I love you Mary.”

“I love you too.” A last squeeze of the hands and a smile was exchanged. Then Joseph and Benjamin were shooed out into the night, leaving the two women and Mary alone in the room.

Mary could feel her belly contracting, as her body laboured to bring her child into the world. A wave of pain broke over her, only to be followed by another and another. She moaned again, letting her pain have a voice.

“That’s right.” A faraway voice broke through her haze of pain and concentration. “Your body knows what it is doing, just let it do what it needs to do.” Mary squinted through pain-glazed eyes to see the old woman, Sarah bending over her, smiling kindly.

“Thank you.” she managed to gasp out before another pain tightened in her belly. Time moved onwards, as her labour dragged. The pain was unrelenting and nearly overwhelming. A mist seemed to descend on her, as if she was in some sort of a dream. Phrases pierced in her brain, before fading into nothing. “Do not be afraid, for you have found favour with God…” “I too have seen an angel!” “You will bear a child….he will save your people from their sins.” “We will bear this together…” “Nothing is impossible with God.” “I love you Mary.” A sharp pain, bringing with it the strong urge to push brought her out of her haze.

“Ohhhh…ayiiiii!” She pushed hard, straining to bring her child into the world. Time and time again she pushed, for what seemed like hours. A black thought crept into her mind.

I can’t do this. She felt drained of all strength, unable to push any longer.

Lord God! She sent a silent, desperate cry for help up to heaven. Help me!

With one last effort Mary gathered all her remaining strength together and strained with all she had in her. A sharp cry broke from her lips as her son entered into the world. She instinctively reached down and scooped up the baby up into her arms. Sweat and tears mingled and ran down her cheeks as she stared into the tiny face of her son. Wet and screaming, he was the most beautiful child she had ever seen.

This was the expected Saviour of her people, the promised Messiah, the miracle child that she had carried in her womb for 9 long months.

Wonder and awe filled her heart. God had found favour in her, to bear his Son. This was God made flesh in her arms.

Then, gently old Sarah took the baby from Mary. “Let me clean him up for you, my dear. I’ll be right back…” While Sarah was dealing with the baby, Rebecca cleaned Mary up, helping her into a clean robe, and settling her on a pallet filled with straw. Sarah brought the baby back to Mary, snugly wrapped in strips of cloth. Mary eagerly welcomed the tiny, screeching bundle back into her arms, and then watched in awe as he immediately rooted around until he found what he was looking for and the then quietened as he began to feed.

“Aunt Rebecca, will you please bring Joseph in now?” she asked.

“Of course. Joseph?” Rebecca called out into the dark. “You have a son!”

Immediately Joseph’s tall frame appeared in the doorway.

“Mary!” he rushed to her side, and knelt down beside her. “Oh Mary!” he laughed with joy. “He’s here!”

“Yes, he is here!” she smiled back at him, her heart full to bursting with happiness. “Our long-awaited deliverer and Saviour is here.” All that Mary and Joseph were aware of was the tiny baby suckling at Mary’s breast. No words were spoken, but volumes of words were exchanged through the couple’s eyes. Words of hope and joy, of love and peace.

When the baby was finished eating, Mary handed him to Joseph, who gently placed him in a wooden manger filled with straw that was standing nearby. Joseph smiled as the baby squirmed sleepily in the straw.

“The Messiah, lying in a manger… Who would have dreamed?”

“Only God.” Mary gently responded. Her heart was full. This child was the answer to her people’s prayers, the fulfilment of a promise. God had become a human. Her son was God’s rescue plan in person. He was here.

“You will call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” Joseph softly said.

“Jesus… He will save his people.” Mary gently laid a hand on the sleeping baby.

This was the Messiah, the Saviour… of the world.

~

So that does it – He Found Favour in Her is officially finished! I’ve so enjoyed sharing this story with you, and I hope that it has resonated in some way with you this past week. So for now, I hope you have a very merry Christmas, and I will be back as usual on Saturday!

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness,  on them has light shone… For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.” – Isaiah 9:1-2, 6-7

He Found Favour in Her – The Journey

Happy Christmas Eve!! Wow, time has crept by super fast this week. I can’t believe today I’m posting the second to last part of He Found Favour in Her! How have you enjoyed the story so far?

I’m afraid I must keep this short today, as family time has a precedent today. 😉 So I hope you enjoy this 5th part! Click here to read Part 4: The Shunning

~

The Journey

Dust was everywhere. Gritting against Mary’s sweaty back, drying out her lips, and caking her hands, face and any exposed part of her body. It was everywhere.

And the noise! Lines of people stretched out like ripples in an ocean almost as far as the eye could see. People were behind, around, and in front of Mary. And they were loud people. Babies cried, children whined, Mothers ‘shushed’, Fathers shouted at the animals, and the animals voiced their annoyance at having to carry heavy loads with loud brays and groans.

Swaying on the donkey’s bony back, Mary sighed. How much longer?

When Mary had stood her ground and told her parents that she was going with Joseph no matter what they said, she hadn’t realized what her declaration would entail. They were only five days into their trip, but already she was exhausted and ready to be in Bethlehem. The constant movement, dust, and noise was dragging on her nerves, and all she wanted was a quiet place to prepare for the birth of her baby.

At least she had plenty of time to think.

While riding the donkey, she let her thoughts drift back over the last eight months, right back to the day the angel told her she would carry God’s son. She remembered the overwhelming fear, the tiny sliver excitement and the dragging worry. Telling her parents the news and seeing their disappointment over her seeming unfaithfulness was heart-breaking. They still didn’t understand. Perhaps they never would.

Oh Lord… Mary sent up a silent prayer. Help my parents to understand. Open their eyes so they can see your plan being carried out.

Her thoughts drifted on to her visit with Elizabeth. Elizabeth had understood. Perhaps it was because they shared a common bond. They both carried miracle children, for whom God had special plans. Elizabeth’s wisdom and welcoming home was just what Mary had needed during those weeks of questioning and doubts. During her visit, Mary had seen Elizabeth’s miracle son be born, and had marvelled at God’s amazing plan for her people.

But the visit had to end, and going back to Nazareth had been a rude shock. By then, Mary’s pregnancy was clear for all to see, and the reaction to it was unfavourable. People had talked. A lot.

Looking back, Mary didn’t know what she would have done without Joseph.

But at first she didn’t know what to expect from him. From the time the angel came to when she came back from Elizabeth’s she hadn’t once spoken to him.

But what a surprise when she finally did! Mary smiled as she remembered. Joseph had come to her when she was working out in the fields. “Mary. Don’t worry. I know, I understand!” Mary remembered she shock that she felt, looking into Joseph’s animated face. “I have seen an angel too! I was going to divorce you quietly, but the angel told me to take you as my wife. For you are carrying God’s son!” The two had praised God together.

A few weeks later, they had partaken of the marriage bread, and became married. People talked at that too. But Mary and Joseph and bore it. Together. They knew that they were carrying out God’s plan, and they trusted that God knew what he was doing.

The census had come as a shock. All were to go to their hometown to be counted, by orders of the Caesar. Joseph’s hometown was Bethlehem, a ten day’s journey south of Nazareth. Orders were orders, so despite the distance he had to go to Bethlehem.

Joseph was of the mind to leave Mary behind and her parents agreed with him. The trip was too long and hard for a young, pregnant girl. But Mary had insisted on going. She would not let her husband go without her.

And so that was how she managed to be riding on a donkey, covered in dust, heavily pregnant, amongst a noisy crowd of people all on the same mission to get to their hometown to be counted.

Mary sighed again and shifted herself on the back of the donkey. Riding was only slightly better than walking, but Joseph insisted that she ride. She had submitted to him, only because she was too tired to argue. She licked her dusty lips, and inwardly hoped that it wouldn’t be much longer before they could take a break.

“Mary?” Joseph called back to her from where he was leading the donkey along the steep, dusty road.

“Yes?”

“Are you well?”

“Yes, I am fine.”

Never mind my discomfort, I don’t want to trouble him anymore than is needful. He’s working so hard.

Then, seeming to answer Joseph too, the baby in Mary’s womb gave a hard kick and wriggled violently.

“Oh, little one! You are getting so strong!” Mary caressed her round belly with her hands, feeling the baby’s kicks and movements. “You will be ready to come out soon, won’t you? But not yet. Not yet little one. Wait till we get to Bethlehem.”

Oh God, please let us get there soon…

~

I hope that your Christmas Eve is joy-filled and frabjous! See you back here tomorrow for the final part of the story!

He Found Favour in Her – The Shunning

Happy Christmas Adam to you all! (tomorrow is Christmas Eve, so today is Christmas Adam. Get it? :D) Tis now only 2 days till Christmas! :O Today I’m going to be busy with finishing up some last bits of school work (It’s ever so much fun. #sarcasmalert) as well as going for our traditional Christmas Eve/Adam ice skating! So I’m putting this blog post up a tad earlier than normal, so as to have it off my agenda for the rest of the day.  I hope you enjoy this fourth part of He Found Favour in Her! Click here to read Part 3: The Visit. 

~

The Shunning

Mary pulled her shawl tightly around her, and quickened her steps. Her heavy basket dragged on her arm as she walked through the crowded market. A barrage of cold stares and accusing eyes met her at every corner. Women whispered behind their hands, and Mary knew what they were saying.

“There she goes….”

“I never thought she would do that kind of thing.”

“Did they ever find out who the father was? It couldn’t have been Joseph, even if he is still marrying her. He’s too righteous for that.”

“Yes, he’s just trying to protect her.”

Old women wagged their heads with scorn, mothers ‘tut-tutted’ and young women eyed her with disdain. And the men? They just ignored her.

I am a stranger in the village that I’ve lived in my whole life. All because of the child I’m carrying. Why God? Why must this happen? Head bowed, eyes bright with unshed tears, Mary hurried along, her feet stirring up clouds of dust on the dirt street.

“Maywy, Maywy!”

A voice broke into her thoughts, little feet pitter-pattered behind her, and a chubby hand grabbed at her robe. Mary turned to see a curly headed tot grinning up at her.

“Why Tamar! How nice to see you! And how are you today?” Mary blinked back her tears and crouched down awkwardly in front of the child, hampered by her growing bump and large basket.

“I’m good. I’m at the mawket!” Tamar lisped.

“Why yes you are! And who are you with?” Mary grinned at the little girl’s speech.

“With Mama and baby Wueben. I’m a big girl.” Tamar stood straight and puffed out her chest, delight sparkling in her dark eyes.

“Yes, you are now! But where is your Mama?” Mary questioned Tamar.

“I dunno. Are you having a baby?” The tot put out her chubby hand and stroked Mary’s bump.

“Yes, I am.” Mary smiled at the tot’s innocent question.

“Tamar! Tamar!” A young woman with panic written on her face rushed up, a baby and a loaded basket filling her arms.

“Don’t you ever run away from Mama like that! You could have got trampled by an animal or lost! Or even worse….” Her voice trailed off as she saw Mary.

“Why hello, Susannah!” Mary straightened up and greeted the woman. Surely Susannah won’t be like the others. She was my closest childhood friend!

“Oh, hello Mary.” Susannah replied slowly.

“How are you?” smiled Mary. “I haven’t seen you in a while. Rueben is getting bigger!”

“Yes, he is.” Susannah responded shortly.

“Mama, Mama, Maywy is having a baby!” Tamar piped up.

“Yes, well… We need to go Tamar. Right now.”

“But why?” Tamar whined.

“Because.” Juggling the baby and basket in her arms, Susannah reached out a hand and grabbed Tamar.

“Susannah! Couldn’t you stay and talk a minute?” asked Mary.

“No.” Susannah replied, face stony.

“Susannah, please…” Mary pleaded.

“I’m sorry.” And with that, Susannah and her children walked away.

Mary stood stunned in the street, unaware of the bustling market around her. She just left. She turned her back and left. She’s been my best friend since I was 5 and now she’s rejected me – just like everyone else. Because I’m pregnant!

“Why God, why!?” An anguished moan passed her lips and salty tears wound their way down her cheeks. Why me? Didn’t you know that this child would cause me to become an outcast, an object of shame?

“Mary.” A hand came round from behind her and gently took her basket away. Mary spun around to face the one person she knew would understand. Joseph. “Are you alright?” he gently asked, his kind face wrinkling in concern.

“N-no, I’m not.” Mary struggled to keep the sobs in check that welled up from deep inside.

“Come, let’s walk.” Joseph took her small hand in his work-roughened one, and they walked down the street.

“I’m trying so hard to trust God. I really am.” Words tumbled out from Mary’s lips. “But it’s so hard! I’m- I’m an outcast among the people I’ve lived with my whole life. They don’t believe me when I tell them the truth. Even my own parents don’t believe me! Not that I really expected them too – it’s such a crazy story. But surely they could show some more compassion. You’re the only one who really understands…”

She swallowed another sob and turned her anguished face up to Joseph. His eyes were soft, and she could see her pain mirrored in his face.

“I know.” Joseph murmured. “I feel the sting of the whispers and looks too. It’s hard.” He stopped and turned to face her, gripping her shoulders. “But Mary, God chose you. He found favour in you. And he’s included both of us in his plan. I don’t understand it all. But I do know that he knows what he is doing. We just need to trust him. People will soften and forget. Eventually. We need to be strong and trust the Lord. We will bear this together.”

Mary sighed, and gave a watery smile. “You are right. We will bear this together.”

~

What do you have planned for today? Anything Christmas-y like ice skating? Let me know in the comments below! 🙂

He Found Favour in Her – The Visit

Hello again! Ahhh, Christmas is fast approaching, and everything is so exciting! 😀 We have Christmas cookies coming out of our ears, Christmas music spilling constantly out of our mouths, Christmas packages constantly arriving (Amazon is a life saver :D) and lots of visitors coming for Christmas activities at our house. Christmas has really snuck up on me this year. It seems like it was just last week that we were just beginning the Christmas season, and now it’s only 3 days away! :O But everything is joyous and Christmas-y and crazy and it’s all wonderful! 😀

And since today is now upon us, that means it’s time for part 3 of He Found Favour in Her! Click here to read Part 2: The Telling

~

The Visit

Two women, one young and one old, sat outside a low, earthen house. The young women’s hands flew as she deftly worked a small loom that was sitting on her lap. The older women spun wool with ease, though her hands were stretched at a rather awkward angle around her belly. For the older women was pregnant. Very heavily pregnant.

“Elizabeth,” Said the young woman, breaking the silence “Can I ask you a question?”

“Of course my child.”

“Why did God choose me to carry the Messiah?” She let the loom slip to the ground, and placed her hands gently on her slightly swollen abdomen. Before that gesture, you would not have noticed that she was pregnant. But now, closely looking, you would be able to see a small bump swelling beneath the girl’s robe.

“Why me, and why here? I’m not married. Did God not know it would cause a stir? And why in Nazareth? It’s a nowhere place with a bad reputation! People even say ‘Can anything good come from Nazareth?’!

So why would God choose a young, unmarried girl from Nazareth to carry his son, the Messiah? Why did God chose me?” The questions came to an abrupt stop, and the two sat in silence for a moment.

“Well, my dear, I’m no rabbi or priest.” Elizabeth slowly began. “I am just a simple woman who has faith in God. But I do know this – God does not look at the outward appearance and circumstances, but instead what is in the heart.” She placed her wrinkled hand over Mary’s slim, brown one. “He chose you Mary. He saw your heart and chose you. And you know, God has a plan. He has had a plan right from the beginning to rescue his people, and we’ve been waiting so long. But now, it seem it is finally going to happen!”

She gave a small laugh. “I never dreamt it would happen in my life time, or that the Messiah would be born to my cousin. But where was I…? Oh yes, his plan. It is a perfect plan, and you are part of it. God will take care of everything, after all he’s had plenty of time to work it all out. You only need to trust him. Does that help, my child?”

“Yes…” Mary sighed. “I know in my heart that God has a plan. It’s just hard to see through all the questions sometimes.”

She looked into Elizabeth’s warm eyes and smiled. “Thank you, Elizabeth, for opening up your house, and for your kind, wise words. I don’t know what I would’ve done if I hadn’t come here.”

“Oh, it is nothing. My home is always open, especially to my favourite youngest cousin! Come here…” Elizabeth wrapped her arms around Mary, hugging her tightly. Then they both broke into laughing, and pulled apart.

“Did you feel that?” Elizabeth asked.

“Yes! He is strong!”

“Here, feel.” Elizabeth took Mary’s hand in hers and placed it on her belly. Mary’s eyes glistened with joy as the child inside kicked out. Elizabeth’s face erupted into thousands of smile wrinkles as her miracle baby moved inside her womb.

“I think he is ready to come out. What do you think?” Mary asked

“Whew, yes he is… Any day now!” Elizabeth sighed, rubbing her stomach. “There is not much room left!” She broke into another joyful chuckle.

“Just think, one day, our sons will play together!” smiled Mary.

“They are both destined for great things. Just think, their comings were both foretold by angels!”

Elizabeth’s eyes grew distant for a moment, as she remembered the day, nearly 9 months ago now, when her husband had staggered out of the temple, mute and shaking. An angel had visited him, and foretold the birth of their miracle son. Their lives had never been the same since that day.

“Yes, they are both miracle children…” She mused quietly.

Oh, God has been so merciful to both of us.” Mary rejoiced. “He is worthy of our praise!”

“Yes, he certainly is! He has given us miracles and kept his promise of long ago.” Said Elizabeth. “Shall we thank him for his goodness now?”

“Oh yes, yes.” Mary responded. Elizabeth took Mary’s hands in hers, and they both bowed their heads.

“Lord God, we thank you that you have kept your promise…”

~

That’s part 3! How are you enjoying the so far? We have 3 more parts to come, so see you back here soon! 🙂