It is Advent in the Christian tradition. It is a time of waiting before the coming of Christ. The primary emphasis is on his birth. Today’s poem is by Luci Shaw and entitled “Kenosis”. It is found in Harvesting Fog, p.53.
In sleep his infant mouth works in and out.
He is so new, his silk skin has not yet
been roughed by plane and wooden beam
nor, so far, has he had to deal with human doubt.
He is in a dream of nipple found,
of blue-while milk, of curving skin
and, pulsing in his ear, the inner throb
of a warm heart’s repeated sound.
His only memories float from fluid space.
So new he has not pounded nails, hung a door,
broken bread, felt rebuff, bent to the lash,
wept for the sad heart of the human race.
The world ‘kenosis’ is a Greek word that is usually means “to empty”. It is famously found in Paul’s letter to the Philippians. Of Christ, he wrote that “though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness.” 2:6-7. It is that self-emptying birth of the Son of God that Christians celebrate this time of year.
While this poem and the scripture text are in the Christian tradition, the emphasis on humility is found in many spiritual traditions.
“Humble living does not diminish. It fills.” Rumi
“If the sage would guide the people, he must serve with humility.” Tao Te Ching
Humility was little regarded in the Greek and Roman world of Jesus’ day. And it is little regarded in America today–or so it seems. It can be different. We can choose to walk the low road of kindness, gentleness, and generosity. Walk the humble pathway. In it you are more likely to experience the presence of God.
the humble person
is like a blooming cactus
in the dry desert
As always, feel free to share this blog with anyone you think might enjoy it. Remind them that they can opt to follow it and receive it in their inbox. Peace, LaMon