This poem by Madeleine L’Engle speaks deeply to living with the “both/and” that is part of the Christian faith; recognizing the often painful reality of the world, while, at the same time, believing that pain, grief, death and fear are not the end of the story – hope, love and joy are what endures and gives life. May her words encourage you this Christmas Day.
He did not wait till the world was ready,
till men and nations were at peace.
He came when the Heavens were unsteady,
and prisoners cried out for release.
He did not wait for the perfect time.
He came when the need was deep and great.
He dined with sinners in all their grime,
turned water into wine. He did not wait
till hearts were pure. In joy he came
to a tarnished world of sin and doubt.
To a world like ours, of anguished shame
he came, and his Light would not go out.
He came to a world which did not mesh,
to heal its tangles, shield its scorn.
In the mystery of the Word made Flesh
the Maker of the stars was born.
We cannot wait till the world is sane
to raise our songs with joyful voice,
for to share our grief, to touch our pain,
He came with Love: Rejoice! Rejoice!
Madeleine L’Engle, from The Ordering of Love: The New and Collected Poems of Madeleine L’Engle