Sunday, December 1, 2013

A Bethlehem Memory

The Threshing Floor of Boaz, Bethlehem

Israel Pilgrimage II, May 1987
O little town of Bethlehem
how still we see thee lie
from the wheat field of Boaz
this pleasant mid-spring night
A zealous band of pilgrims
tracing footsteps of The Lord –
with hearts ablaze to praise
One so worthy to be adored
We huddle at the circular
stone threshing floor for wheat
with eyes fixed on the little town
so Christmas tableau sweet
We look around for shepherds
as the sun is going down
while to the strumming of guitar
we lift the joyful sound
of our voices unto Heaven
to give our gift of song…
Every carol that we know
is offered by this throng
The evening is so glorious
we do not want to leave –
Our dinners may be getting cold
but here our spirits cleave
The darkness slowly deepens
as dim starlights appear…
twilight glows with hymn-song
while in reverie we veer
back to the old, old stories
of the night of Holy Birth
Each of us is enthralled by
this blessed bit of earth
In the distance, the townsfolk
begin to light their lights
for the routine of living
in this very awesome site
We wonder, do they ever kneel
to kiss the hallowed ground
where they spend their everydays?
Do the amber fields resound
with ecstatic jubilation?
Do stars shoot sparks of praise
for the glorious Gift given
that precious day of days?
O little town of Bethlehem…
this night we’ll greatly treasure
Echoes of carols, memories
will remain forever
Pure joy overflows our hearts
for Bethlehem’s Babe, Our Lord
was born here to save sinners…
Jesus, Savior of the World!
Maude Carolan
What a delightful memory it is, singing Christmas carols in Bethlehem in 1987!  This is the final poem in my series on pilgrimage to the holy land, and what a fitting poem it is as I begin a new series of Christmas poems that I hope you'll enjoy. Yesterday evening I went with friends to Hawthorne (NJ) Gospel Church to experience the 70th annual performance by The Cathedral Choir of Handel's "Messiah". It was absolutely magnificent! The true Christmas spirit is now very much alive in me.

Also, at our service at Beth Israel Worship Center, this morning, Pastor/Rabbi Jonathan Cahn lit candles on our Hanukkah menorah...I'd therefore like to take this opportunity to wish a blessed Hanukkah to all my Messianic and Jewish friends.

For anyone who may be interested, scroll to the bottom of this website for information about ordering my little books of poetry. One chapbook/booklet is a collection of Christmas poems and cookie recipes, another is a series of poems about pilgrimage.

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