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01 December 2006

December Poem of the Month

It certainly is not feeling like Christmas around here; 70 degrees today.... But here's a Christmas poem to help usher in Advent. It's a few years old now, and stylistically outdated, but perhaps you'll find something to enjoy notwithstanding.

Incarnation

Immense and joyful was His infinite
existence, massive both in size and bliss,
in cosmic comfort, starry celebration,
and sustained aseity of happiness.
He folded up that hugeness slowly. In
an instant crammed into the virgin’s seed,
gently holding back so not to burst
by size and speed: and thus contained knew grief.
When born, He suddenly was jarred by pain,
embraced by arms that, too, knew pain, and lost
the warm protection of that prenatal place.
Stabbed with sudden hurts, He later stood
on weak legs, scarce contained by skin, and lost
the cool perfection of an infinite space.

~ Sørina




© 2002, Sørina Higgins. Do not use this work in any way without permission from the author.

6 comments:

Ariel said...

Beautiful.

Rosie Perera said...

Lovely. Wish I'd seen this last night. I would have brought it in and read it to my Christology class today.

It reminds me of the line from Charles Wesley's hymn "Let Earth and Heaven Combine": "Our God contracted to a span, / incomprehensibly made man."
(Wesley might have gotten the idea of "contracted to a span" from George Herbert's poem "The Pulley": "Let the worlds riches, which dispersed lie, / Contract into a span.")

Iambic Admonit said...

Thanks, Ariel, thanks, Rosie! Rosie, I'm wondering why you would have used it in the Christology class? And that's not an idle question; I'm fascinated to hear how you would have used it, what point of Christ's life or attributes it would have illustrated, whether or not it's all Biblical or going a little too far into the fantasy field, etc. Let me know in future & I can supply you with all sorts of theologyically questionable sonnets! Well, not really, most of them are strictly orthodox, but asking questions or making speculations.

Rosie Perera said...

Well, first of all, I am someone who engages in interdisciplinary thinking and likes to encourage it in others. Using the arts to teach a subject that doesn't explicitly involve the arts is one way of fostering this integrative mindset (see also my post on integrating photography with life at Space For God). So that's why I'd choose to read a poem at all in a Christology class.

I actually did read John Updike's "Seven Stanzas at Easter" in the context of discussing Christ's being fully human, fully divine. We tend to emphasize Christ's divinity at the expense of his humanity in our evangelical churches. So we spent some time talking about why we need both sides of that. Updike leans heavily on the human physical nature of Christ here, to counterbalance those who would say the Resurrection was merely a metaphor. I think your Incarnation poem brings together both Christ's human nature and his divine nature in a beautiful way. And it's more relevant for this season of the year than Updike's.

I see no problem with speculating about things up to the boundaries that Scripture places. Since the Bible tells us Jesus was sinless, it wouldn't be legitimate to suggest that Jesus might have had an affair with Mary Magdalene, as some have done in their art. But since we are told very little about Christ's pre-Incarnational existence, why not imagine what it might have been like? Your description of it as "immense and joyful" drives home how very much Christ gave up to enter into a human body, which is in line with the Christological hymn in Philippians 2. And your elaboration on his ability to feel pain is totally consistent with themes in the Passion narratives.

You might find it helpful to read up on controversies about Christ's nature in the early centuries of the church, which resulted in church councils defining the basic creeds of our faith. A good starting point is the Dictionary of Christology, with its excellent Chart of Historical Christological Controversies.

Iambic Admonit said...

Thanks! Great thoughts.

Jo Ann said...

Dear Admonit,
Beautiful poem and it seems very special after just seeing the movie The Navitity Story. Both invoke praise to our heavenly Father. Thank you.
~ Mom