The Work of Advent (after Howard Thurman)

On Mondays I will be sharing a poem from my new seasonal book, Christmas Eve at the Epsom Circle McDonald’s and Other Poems.

I’ve been busy this last week taking books around to Independent booksellers — here is a photo of me in the wonderful Gibson’s Book Store in Concord, New Hampshire. River Run in Portsmouth, New Hampshire and “A Little Something” gift store in South Berwick, Maine, are also carrying it and more will do so when Ingram begins shipping.

I have also been learning Facebook Live where I offer a ten minute reading on Tuesdays at 11:00 EST.

Christmas Eve at the Epsom Circle McDonald’s and Other Poems is available on Amazon Kindle and Barnes and Noble Nook, while some other platforms are still in pre-sale mode and impacted by mail crunches but available for those who don’t mind waiting. For a print book immediately please follow this link https://store.bookbaby.com/book/Christmas-Eve-at-the-Epsom-Circle-McDonalds-and-Other-Poems

These Monday poems hope to give you a preview of the book. The rest of my blog week will continue with my normal posts.

Howard Thurman is the inspiration for this reflection on the work of Advent in this season of coronavirus.

The Work of Advent

When the carols of choirs are stilled,

when so many dear ones are gone
it seems like the stars
have blinked their tears into darkness,

when the year has kept so many home
and endangered the homes
of so many others,

when the shepherds of the year
are health care workers,
and, like those flock-keepers long ago,
those in essential but poorly-honored jobs,

the work of Advent begins:

to find the grieving, the fearful, the lost,

to heal those broken in spirit
with the story of an unexpected hope
in another time of great danger,

to feed, clothe, shelter, employ,
those financially insecure,

to release the prisoner –
especially those
in immigration detention,

to rebuild all the nations,
because the epiphany is
that gifts come
not out of our own chimneys
but from strangers who live far away,

to become stable-makers that shelter
peace, health, wisdom
and care for the earth itself,

to sing the carols in our homes
and teach the words and maybe one tune
to someone, perhaps a child,
who longs for a new harmony.

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9 Responses to The Work of Advent (after Howard Thurman)

  1. Ashley Grant says:

    What a timely word for Advent 2020. Thank you.

  2. Stephen Price says:

    As you know I deeply love the work of Howard Thurman. This is a really good (poetically and theologically) reflection on his poem. Thank you.

  3. Linda Wygant says:

    Thank you for this! A wonderful preview. I just ordered your book and am anticipating its arrival!

  4. elainebolitho says:

    Thank you Maren and blessings for you and your new book. What a lovely picture of you too – in future pictures taken in 2020 will be easily dated as so many people are wearing masks – you do it with style!

    Advent blessings,

    Elaine E Bolitho

    56 Box Hill, Wellington 6035

    Home Phone (04) 479-5352

  5. Michelle Scott says:

    I love this poem! May I share it in my advent post to about 50 people most of whom are family/friends of Mason Church here in Mason, NH. I will share your blog post, so they could sign up too! Michelle, Outreach for Mason Congregational Church

    On Mon, Nov 23, 2020 at 3:47 AM Gifts in Open Hands wrote:

    > Maren posted: ” On Mondays I will be sharing a poem from my new seasonal > book, Christmas Eve at the Epsom Circle McDonald’s and Other Poems. I’ve > been busy this last week taking books around to Independent booksellers — > here is a photo of me in the wonderful Gi” >

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