Ordinary Blessings for the Christmas Season
Perhaps you are a planner and October doesn’t seem too early to start talking about the Christmas season. You’re already formatting your Christmas card picture, booking travel plans, or deciding which days you’ll take PTO and which days you’ll “work from home” while kids are around on winter break from school.
I’m not very proactive or organized about any of these things, but there are two ways I plan ahead for the Christmas season. Since I’m a pastor, I’m already thinking about preaching texts, worship themes, and Advent hymns. Church professionals are always living in two (or more) seasons at a time. And because I walk through this season with so many parishioners, family members, and friends, I’m already thinking about grief, family systems, consent culture, and the financial stress of Christmas.
My latest collection of Ordinary Blessings is holding all these things and more. There are poems to mark the holiday season at home, in the world, and at church; for travel, for winter weather, and sitting down at the table together; for biblical characters and Advent words, and the twelve days of Christmas. Some are funny and others are earnest. They all aim to honor the tension of what is both hard and holy about the Christmas Season.
Here are a few blessings from Ordinary Blessings for the Christmas Season: Prayers, Poems, and Meditations, available everywhere you buy books. I hope this collection helps you bless the ordinary this season—and serves as a go-to holiday gift for your loved ones, too.
For When They Ask About Santa (p. 13)
There is a spirit at work
in this season of plenty
that lingers just beyond
the logic of little ones.
However they ask,
and however you tell,
fold them into the magic
that moves through generations,
that declares every single child
worthy of miracles, a generous story,
and love that calls them good.
For a Seat at The Table (p. 54)
I hope you eat or do not eat
something on your own terms,
because you are delicious.
I hope you are asked about
your life unlaced from expectations,
because you are fascinating.
I hope you have plenty of elbow room
and someone for glances and grins,
because you are good company.
I hope you come and go as one
who is loved and whole and free.
For Elizabeth (p. 85)
She flings wide the door
and saunters outside
to bless her little cousin
to announce what is already true
to add her delight to God’s
and celebrate how good it feels
to embody the impossible
and take up space in the story.
She opens her arms wide
so they can embrace with
shoulders, bellies, and voices
that bear witness to how much
God trusts women to carry
what is dangerous and holy
for the sake of generations
still forming inside us all.
Copyright © 2023 Meta Herrick Carlson from Ordinary Blessings for the Christmas Season: Prayers, Poems, and Meditations (Minneapolis, MN: Broadleaf Books, 2023).
Meta Herrick Carlson (she/her/hers) is a pastor and poet. Her ministry is rooted in a love for meaningful ritual, accessible language, and healthy communities. Meta laughs at her own jokes and packs extra snacks just in case. She and her husband Matt have three kids who are loud, sticky, and fiercely loved. For information about her books, visit www.metaherrickcarlson.com.
This week’s sponsor of Mothering Spirit is Brazos Press, publisher of The Deep Down Things by Amber C. Haines and Seth Haines. In The Deep Down Things, Amber and Seth point to a simple truth: even in the darkest times, there are tangible signs of hope all around us. They demonstrate how tasting, touching, feeling, holding, and participating in these tangible acts of hope picks us up, builds our strength, and moves us into beauty, even in times of despair.