In The Perks of Being a Wallflower, a small motley troop of friends offers gifts that prove they’ve been listening to one another, that they care about each other’s details and dreams. If only all gifts could say what we want them to, could show our deep affection, could bless and enrich another for life. I often go back to the three fairies from Sleeping Beauty who flutter about the newly born princess bestowing gifts of beauty, song, and protection. I have no magic dust, no perfect answers. My offering is a simple Christmas poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins and a deep sense that all who read will be filled to the brim with hope.
Hopkins poetry has changed me over time. It speaks in a cadence and rhyme rare poets use, like conversation spinning, whirling in, imagery-laden and fresh.
This one, so simple, so specific, gives me hope, gives me joy. I feel the tension in it between eternal God and mortal mankind. But more so I feel hope for redemption. The irony in the title and first line “moonless darkness stands between” offers a quest, a Frodo-esque journey toward understanding, light and enlightenment only found in a stable in a child on Christmas morning. Here is “Moonless Darkness Stands Between”:
Moonless darkness stands between.
Past, the Past, no more be seen!
But the Bethlehem star may lead me
To the sight of Him Who freed me
From the self that I have been.
Make me pure, Lord: Thou art holy;
Make me meek, Lord: Thou wert lowly;
Now beginning, and alway:
Now begin, on Christmas Day.
Merry Christmas, readers. You are all treasures.
With love, S