In the southern hemisphere, instead of heading into the often-dreaded dark days of northern hemisphere winter, (which have had an impact on Advent and Christmas hymnody) the blossoming of summer, long hours of sunshine and an exuberant atmosphere welcome the Christ Child. The first poem, by Beverley Osborn, is taken from the pages of From the Psalms to the Cloud! The second is her poem for this year, a beautiful Epiphany poem which I am very proud to publish for the first time here.
Bright pink lamps are flaming
on the old horse-chestnut tree
and a shining of gold candles
in the kowhai I can see.
The lanterns of the lantern tree
are glowing deeply red
and, here and there, a flame tree
flares bright orange overhead.
Great banks of rhodo blossom
with the colours of the dawn
and buttercups and daisies
gleam like stars across the lawn.
We cannot see the colours
in the darkness of the night
but their beauty is revealed
with the coming of the light.
The light of all our living
is the child of Christmas story,
who shows God’s love – its constancy,
its hope and strength and glory.
They brought gifts, we are told,
those wise men of old —–
myrrh, frankincense and gold.
They brought gifts to the child —-
himself gift of God —-
gifts of love
to nourish and develop,
to add sweetness to his living,
to care for his suffering.
And the child became those gifts of love,
nourishing and encouraging,
breathing hope and joy.
bringing compassion and healing —-
gifts that grew in strength and grace,
gifts that spread through time and space,
gifts of love in every place,
gifts of self through ages spilling,
gifts today where hearts are willing.