Mary’s Sonnet

Mother and Child
Mother and Child

Mary’s Sonnet

Gently and beautifully, she tips her brow
Down t’wards the babe while at her breast he sleeps.
She moves beyond the joy to wonder how
Love strikes so deeply ’tis pain, and she weeps.
Her eyes drink in the beauty of his hands,
His feet, his face – so small, perfect, her own.
In her heart, she cannot conceive the sands
Of years changing babe to man, birth to grown.
The heavn’s dance as angels shout the birth
Of pure love. The stars and seas cry joy.
And even the God smiles and sings for earth.
All time and space celebrates her small boy.
Eternity is pressed in this one night
As she lies bathed in Emmanuel’s light.


Dance with the angels!
Shout with the stars!
Messiah has come,
and with Him

Another Newborn Babe

Long ago and far away, on a deeply dark night and after a weary day of travel, a young woman labored long to deliver her son into the world.

He rushed forth from her womb, leaving behind its warmth and safety to enter a world of both pain and love, joy and sorrow, birth and death – just like other newborn babes.

Someone scooped him up, wiped him clean, bundled him tightly, and lay him at his mother’s breast – just like other newborn babes.

Someone named him, held him, gazed at him lovingly, and brought him home to safety and warmth – just like other newborn babes.

Someone counted his fingers, counted his toes, stroked his delicate skin, fingered his silken hair, marveled at his quivering eyelashes, and traced his perfect face – just like other newborn babes.

Someone basked in the glow of new life, marveled at this bundle of humanity, and rejoiced in his miraculous breathing, wiggling, yawning, crying, sleeping, and eating – just like other newborn babes.

But this was not just another newborn babe.

This was Mary’s child. The carpenter’s boy. The son of God.

This was God himself, come to earth as a helpless babe, rushing forth from Mary’s womb – the Creator of everything, reduced to this wiggling, yawning, crying, sleeping, eating infant.

Jesus certainly was not just another newborn babe.

But because he willingly became a newborn babe, and then willingly went to the cross for all of humanity, we are offered life that only He can give – the kind of life where Jesus now washes us clean, names us, holds usnumbers the hairs on our head, and basks lovingly in the miracle of our new life – just like other born anew babes.

Breathe deeply and rejoice both in the miracle of newborn life and life born anew because there is nothing “just” about either one – for the first is undeservedly miraculous and the second is miraculously undeserved.

Not just another Sunday

When a Chicago girl marries a Minnesota boy and they live near Indianapolis, the NFL season is, well, challenging.

First because their teams are almost never on TV here.

Second because when their teams play each other twice a year, things get a little heated. Today, for example, the Minnesota boy is wielding a Vikings barbecue burger flipper so that he can “scrape the Bears off the floor” and “cook up some bear.”

That kind of thing.

Today is one of those bi-annual days of battle. The girl and boy are hunkered down at a sports grill where the food is grand, the crowd is loud, and the screen is larger than their kitchen wall.

The girl is wearing a 99-cent Bears ‘jersey’ from Goodwill that is really a Gap Kids XXL shirt that has a company slogan on the left chest.

The boy is wearing an old shirt while his legit NFL licensed #28 jersey hangs in his closet at home, protected with a plastic garment bag, tags still attached a year after acquisition.

She’s weirdly cheap like that.

He’s weirdly careful like that.

Their NFL loyalties are not the only thing that distinguishes them.

And yet more than 27 years after saying “I do,” they still watch the game together, cheering and jeering in turn. It’s a win-lose kind of day for them in the NFL but a win-win kind of life for people whose NFL loyalties are weirdly secondary to the things that really matter.



a theology of babes

Photo Credit: Melissa Hassey (

Babies are my grounding point. When I need a visible and tangible reminder of God’s majesty, deity, splendor, creativity, love – even very existence – I find it there: living, breathing, crying, wiggling, squirming, sucking, sleeping, breathtaking babies.

Those fingers. Those toes. Those eyelashes, like spun silken strands in miniature.

That hair. That nose. That skin, like softened velvet robes in space.

Who can comprehend the miracle? Who can fathom the process? Who can understand the astonishing surprise of human life appearing in such a thoroughly helpless yet perfect bundle of being?

And most of all: who can grasp the unimaginable truth that Almighty God, Creator of the universe, would willingly choose such a form for His greatest work of all – the rescue of mankind from itself?

Christ, the living babe. The helpless, living, breathing, crying, wiggling, squirming, sucking, sleeping, breathtaking babe.

The incarnated Word.

God in flesh.

Majesty on earth.

Love embodied.

It boggles the mind (if one really thinks about it). It astounds the senses (if one really absorbs it). It overwhelms the soul (if one really believes it).

Oh my word, what could be more startling? (There is nothing like it.)

Oh my Word, who could be more salvific? (There is no one like You.)


[Here is quite certainly the most delightful Christmas pageant ever. I’d be mightily surprised if this video of children-as-sheep, children-as-wisemen, children-as-stars, and children-as-holy-family didn’t make you smile broadly and cry joyfully.]

A Bean-free Life

CoffeeI descend from a long line of coffee drinkers.

On both sides. (And both sides of those sides.)

Dark coffee.

The darkest coffee.

Sludgy coffee.

The sludgiest coffee.

At least that’s what it looks like to me, the token non-coffee drinker.

I didn’t set out to be a teetotaler It just happened that way.

I’ve taken a few sips now and then – sips that were dressed up with as many creamy and sugary accessories within reach.

So basically sugarized French-vanilla creamer with a dash of coffee.

Blecch. In every way.

So why does it smell so good?! So delicious? So delectable? So perfect?

Every time I walk into a coffee shop with one of my coffee-drinking friends, or wake up to the smell of my coffee-drinking husband’s timed brew, or catch a whiff of the beans as they spin through the grinder, I think that surely I must be mistaken. Surely this beverage must be liquid gold. Surely my past poisonous sips have been flukes of brewery shenanigans. Surely, if I gave it just one more chance, I would become a devoted disciple and connoisseur whose entire self shivers with delight as she cradles the mug between her hands, raises it to her lips, shuts her eyes in anticipation, breathes deeply of the heavenly aroma, and then kisses the rim lovingly as the drink of goddesses washes over my tongue, into my soul.


I can’t stand it. I just can’t. I’ve tried it every way I can and – except for very rare occasions when there is absolutely nothing else available to wash down the wedding cake – I have resigned myself to being nothing more than a coffee-breather. A wannabe. A poser. A non-drinking Norwegian-Swedish-German-American. I’m pathetic.

Still, I suppose it could be worse. I could hate diet Coke with crushed ice and a vanilla flavor shot in 32 ounce styrofoam cups from the gas station fountain.