An Advent Poem

by Jonathan Haefs

It’s become a bit of a tradition each year that, as my gift to the body of Shades Valley Community Church, I write a poem (I’m a wanna be poet, but SVCC tolerates my attempts very graciously). This year, in light of our sermon series, “Why so Downcast, O My Soul,” the Lord laid the following words on my heart. I pray that this points you to the joy and peace we have through the birth of Jesus.
Merry Christmas, Jonathan Haefs
(If you’d rather listen than read, click here)

Peace, Be Free
Why so downcast, O my soul?
Why all this anxiety?
My heart races, as in dark places
My eyes strain to see.

I count again to calm the fear,
Again that I might sleep.
But I’m restlessness still, upon this hill
Amidst my numbered sheep.

All are present, none are lost.
I repeat this true refrain.
Yet downcast still, anxiety kills
Any peace my mind contains.

The worries of the night are bright,
And I deaf to comfort’s call.
It makes no sense, a heart so dense
That knows not peace at all.

O God why have you made me thus?
Why must I live this way?
Each night depressed, without rest
And anxious through each day

Can I find peace in your great love
When everything feels at war?
I with my mind, with you at times,
Nothing’s stable anymore.

Then…

Without warning, without permission
A new fright breaks the night!
Darkness dispelled, my breath held
Before an angel wrapped in light!

Fear not, he says to my fearing heart.
Good tidings I bring, great truth!
One has been born, who is Lord,
And he’s pleased to bring peace to you!

My heart stopped, temperature dropped
As a multitude appeared.
Glory to God, come and laud,
Salvation has drawn near!

I ran in haste, the sheep kept pace.
To the side of a manger I came.
I saw his face, incarnate grace,
I’d never be the same

My heart was still, despite the chill.
Anxiety suddenly ceased.
This child king, whom angels sing
Has calmed my heart with peace.

My downcast soul, was lifted up
As he lifted his eyes my way.
In their depths, I stared and wept.
Pure love was on display.

Why so downcast, O my soul?
Why all this anxiety?
See his face, receive his grace
And by his peace be free!

advent images.jpg*Artwork by Noah Stalcup

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