The Risk of Birth, An Advent Poem by Madeleine L’Engle (1973)
This is no time for a child to be born,
With the earth betrayed by war & hate
And a comet slashing the sky to warn
That time runs out & the sun burns late.
That was no time for a child to be born,
In a land in the crushing grip of Rome;
Honour & truth were trampled by scorn–
Yet here did the Saviour make his home.
When is the time for love to be born?
The inn is full on the planet earth,
And by a comet the sky is torn–
Yet Love still takes the risk of birth.
It feels again, as at so many times in history that ‘this is no time for a child to be born’. Not just because of war and conflict around the world but because of how the rhetoric of division and hatred has once again become mainstream.
And yet, ‘Love still takes the risk of birth’ and once more we celebrate the birth of a child – a Middle Eastern, refugee child – a child born for the redemption of all of creation. In him is Hope, a reason to keep hoping and trusting and risking all for Love.
This Advent and Christmas can we, amongst the excitement and the tinsel, be part of that redemption, to make the world a better place for everyone? Can we challenge those who seek to sow hatred and division? Can we gather around the Christ child and commit ourselves to the cause of Love and peace?
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6
I wish you all the joy and peace and challenge that Advent and Christmas can bring, and the bright hope of the Christ child who came to be the Prince of Peace, for the New Year and beyond.
Love and prayers