Holy Gifts Taken Chosen A life lifted from obscurity Held in hands that hefted galaxies Hallowed by an ask To sustain The Word Blessed Given grace To bear the weight of favour Daughter of Eve, Giving God a thankful heart By holding His, within Her own Broken Lanced by sword That pierced Father, Spirit, Son. Blood of her blood Poured out for those That clamoured for His death. Given Her whole life Offered on the altar Of surrender A readiness to be God’s Yes Shared out to hungry hands To feed a world With grace It has been my habit for the last 12 years or so, to write a poem at Christmas to include as a tiny gift with the cards I send. Most often they come out of my own journey, and its juxtaposition with the wonder of the Christmas Story. It helps me keep it fresh. I never want to lose that awe. On a much smaller scale, when I was a midwife, I was privileged to bring large numbers of babies into the world, and it always was just that. A privilege and a wonder. No two births are alike, and each one is a miracle. I have been living with these four words for most of this year, in a variety of ways. Taken, blessed, broken, given. They are known as the shape of the Eucharist, based on Jesus’ actions as he shared bread with his disciples or the the huge crowds by the Gallilean shore, taking a tiny, seemingly insignificant gift, ( five loaves and two fishes) blessing it, breaking it and sharing it out to all. Making the miniscule feed the many. They have come up, time and again, most recently within Henri Nouwen’s book, Life of the Beloved, where he brackets them under the larger heading : Becoming the Beloved. He says “ Becoming the Beloved means letting the truth of our Belovedness become enfleshed in everything we think, say or do.” A beautifully succinct way of expressing the two great Commandments, and the description of a life’s journey into Love. I sit several times a day in chapel, facing an icon that depicts Christ looking steadily forwards and holding the words. “You did not choose me, I chose you.” It echoes with my own journey on this path to ordination, that began with a gargantuan struggle with the call God was placing on my life, and reminds me daily that this is all about Him, and I am simply an offered loaf in His hands. Mary’s life continues to inspire and challenge me. I wrote about her in Bringing Love where Love is absent, earlier in the year, and when thinking about this year’s poem, I looked in a variety of other directions/angles but came back to her, as a whole lot of thoughts over the year seemed to come together and distil.