Why Bethlehem?

Those were not just any shepherds. Those were not just any hills. That was not just any manger. Come and see the site foretold in Micah’s prophecy as the place of Christ’s birth and learn about those especially blessed shepherds keeping watch over their precious flock, living in the fields that night, “in that region.” Nearly impossible, infinitesimal odds for circumstances which occurred over millennia all led to this night. “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see…”

Micah 4:8, 5:2; Matthew 2:4-6; Luke 2:8-15


Pairings #3


A delicate oriole nest 
hanging near the end
of a willow branch
with long green leaves
swaying on a gentle breeze

In late Spring
I watched the bustle
weave and hustle
flashing orange and black and yellow
feeding in and flying out

One day a sort of panic 
as mother fluttered frantic
from edge to edge
while fledglings visited
and father brought provision

In that nursery next morning
mother slumped and bent
silent and unmoving
crumpled in her little tomb
spent and color fading 

Affixed to the nest
a tender chick
pinned and deadly tethered
by its small upright back
still and downy feathered

Snagged and tacked
unable to fall or fly
poised in death
its tiny wings outspread
facing toward the sky

Now both softly rocking
in their transient home
I wonder at her natural
gift of living 
beyond herself alone


Our Father 
who sees each sparrow fall
who counts the hairs
of our troubled head
give us strength
when we have none

*Matthew 10:29-30; 2 Corinthians 12:9

Photo by Frank Cone @ Pexels

Pairings #2


Our lagoon 
is first to freeze.
Long and less deep,
beside a Great Lake.
On sun sparkled ice
fall-fattened geese
land and slide, 
not so gracefully, 
then plop down.
I drop onto the
wooden bench. 
My winter jacket 
of down feathers
slowly absorbs
the cold bright sky.


You ask me, why.
Who can give birth to ice?
Who begets frost from the sky?
Who can kiss
water to stone?
Whose breath alone
can freeze the abyss?

*Job 37:10; 38:29-30 in paraphrase, with poetic license

Photo: Queen’s Lake Nature Reserve, New South Wales
by Christopher Hill at Wikimedia Commons


God has His favorites:
we now who mourn,
the orphan and widow,
those lost in the storm,

unloved, unadored 
by kindness withheld. 
All promptings ignored,
the moments repelled.

“Lord, when did we see you,”
abandoned, unstrung?
We straddle two worlds.
Where do we belong?

Kingdom without us.
Kingdom within.
Kingdom of Jesus.
Kingdom, begin…

Photo is in the public domain.

Not What

Who spoke into being
lily, sparrow,
redwood tree
and galaxies?

Who lavishes light
upon our eyes
and deepens shadow
for rest at night?

Who cries out wisdom,
the way of love?
Who liberates 
the heart with law?

Who calls each one
by our secret name
that none but Him
has ever heard?

Who is and has
the first and last? 
Not what, but who.
Undying Word

Photo of Triangulum Galaxy (M33) by NASA/Hubble