Monday, December 10, 2012

In Search of Our Kneeling Places - Ann Weems

As much as the stories of Christmas are defined by the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, for me, Christmas is also defined by the poetry of Ann Weems. Her Christmas poems are a mainstay of our Christmas Eve worship as a congregation. This is her defining Advent poem - one of my favorites.

In each heart lies a Bethlehem,
            an inn where we must ultimately answer
            whether there is room or not.
When we are Bethlehem-bound
            we experience our own advent in his.
When we are Bethlehem bound
            we can no longer look the other way
                        conveniently not seeing stars
                        not hearing voices.
We can no longer excuse ourselves by busily
            tending our sheep or our kingdoms.

This Advent let’s go to Bethlehem
            and see this thing that the Lord has made known to us.
In the midst of shopping sprees
            let’s ponder in our hearts the Gift of Gifts.
Through the tinsel
            let’s look for the gold of the Christmas Star.
In the excitement and confusion, in the merry chaos,
            let’s listen for the brush of angels’ wings.
This Advent, let’s go to Bethlehem
            and find our kneeling places.

Ann Weems, Kneeling in Bethlehem, The Westminster Press, 1980.


  1. Ann Weems is just a wonderful thoughtful person I think...her Kneeling in Bethlehem book is powerful. I would like to put a couple of my favs in our church newsletter, but unfortunately copyrights prohibit that. But I have read her works at meetings and everybody loves them.