This Christmas sonnet/prayer comes from thinking about what Paul writes to the Christians at Ephesus. It also arises from an objection to the typical rhyming pattern found in Christmas carols: child – mild, as in “meek & mild;” meek, yes; but mild? I never perceive Jesus as “mild;” rather he always seems untamed to me, wild and unpredictable in his encounters with both his adversaries and his followers. Similarly, the nativity is a wild event, something so far out of the norm that fearful amazement was the response of those who witnessed it. So this is my effort to capture that quality. Enjoy.
God the Father predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to himself, according to the kind intention of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace, which he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved, in whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of God’s grace. Ephesians 1:5–7
Formerly we walked according to the course of this world, according to the ruler of the power of the air, who controls the spirit by which the disobedient operate, among whom we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, becoming people naturally characterized by wrath. Ephesians 2:2–3
At Christmas time we contemplate your grace:
The fullness of your joy so lavishly
Bestowed on children wild of heart and face,
Annoyed by love, and living churlishly:
Our angry arrogance denied that we
Depend on you for daily sustenance,
That life without your gracious gifts would be
More horrible than we could countenance.
So Christmas celebrates your godly child
Who came to save us from our wrathful pride;
A meek and humble servant, filled with wild
Commitment to the grace we’d cast aside;
In whom we have redemption through his blood;
Through whom we praise your glory, gracious God.