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Four Advent Poems by Jody Seymour

by | Dec 28, 2023

Sleep Bethlehem

Sleep Bethlehem, your streets
are now empty
but full is the night
Evening found them lonely
and looking for shelter
from questions that filled
their wondering hearts

Finding only a world’s “no”
they now rest in the
abode of animals who
must notice how strange
the cry of a child
is in their cold
but welcoming home

Little notice there is of
this night
by those who rest
in your meager town
but when the sun arises
to announce a new day
all will know of your name

You are least among the land
of prophets and promises
but now you are more
than all the forgotten
hopes of your people
who find answers only
in their dreams

Sleep Bethlehem for this night
the heavens are awake
The humble abode you
unwillingly offer will
arouse a future alive
with promises fulfilled

Sleep now comes to them,
tired from a journey
whose end they could
not imagine but
their faithfulness
has changed everything

Rest O city of David,
your namesake is
awakened by the surprise
of all time
So sleep this night
for you will never
rest the same again

Even the stars cannot
claim their usual night slumber
They shine into your
sleepy streets
for they know what
you shall soon learn…

Emmanuel…God is with
your little town
so rest well…
The whole world will
awaken with you
and dawn will break
on a New Creation

The Word Became Flesh

“And the Word became flesh
and dwelt among us”
The Word was on God’s lips
long ago and Creation
became real

God spoke and light
became light and
dark the same
Fish and fowl, land and
sea, earth and sky

All because of
the Word
Then God spoke only
for his own hearing,
“My Word needs to
be personal
I will give them
something beyond
their meager imagining

My Word this time
will become flesh
They will stumble upon
the reality of me
Sheep watchers and
star seekers will
take notice while the
rest of my world
only sleeps

Simple though it be,
my Word will alter
all other words
It’s language shall be
love full of giving
It’s story will become
“the” Story

“My Word becoming flesh…
I like the sound of it
This time Creation will
be so new that
the old will be
overshadowed by the
light that will shine
in their darkness

Listen, O world too
full and busy
Listen to my Word
It’s telling will
be your chance to
save what is lost and
give hope to
the broken hearted

Yes, my Word will
become flesh
and I will indeed
dwell among them
If they must create a
word to name it all
let it be,

Listen to the Quiet

Mary listened to the quiet
after a thunderous
announcement telling her
that she would carry
the weight of the world
which would lighten
the burdens of
broken hearts

Joseph listened to the quiet
after words that
seemed loud
asking him to be
an adopted father
who would shield
Mary from whispers
of scandal

Shepherds listened to the quiet
as always on a night
that seemed long in
their keeping of sheep
until voices broke
their waiting silence
telling their weary
lives that now
a child would bring
hope to a
fear filled world

Star gazers listened to the quiet
after long years of
seeking answers to
questions they asked
of the heavens
And then came a
daring word of direction,

And now you must listen
to the quiet
to fill the longing
of your heart
The quiet is full of
a story that needs
to be told to all
who will listen
to the quiet

Is it Too Full?

Nazareth was too full
of rumors and suspicion
to risk even a moment
of belief in the

For what seemed like a
never ending night
Joseph was too full
of sadness and hurt
to take even a chance
on a mystery message

Herod was too full of
envy and power
to even think of
another king who
would be nothing but
a threat

An inn was too full
to take in God’s
strange way of saving
a world that
was too full
of the death of hope
And now are you too full
-of shopping days
-left over grief
-worries of what might be
-lingering doubts
-promises broken
Pause now and know
that it has always
been “too full”
But God reaches down
to you and
seeks to prepare room
for birth to happen
in your “too full” life

Dr. Jody Seymour

Jody Seymour retired after serving Davidson United Methodist Church as Senior Pastor for 13 years and being a pastor for forty-six years in the Western North Carolina Conference. He is the author of six books and resides just outside of Davidson with his wife, Betsy.

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